D.J. Sokol Arena was alive and well Friday evening as the 2013-14 Creighton basketball season officially began.
Both the men and women’s teams took the floor for the Blue and White scrimmages in front of a near-sellout crowd in Omaha, Nebraska. On the men’s side, the White squad defeated the Blue squad 32-28, and Blue defeated White 32-14 on the women’s side. Senior superstar forward Doug McDermott looked like his old self with 10 points. He picked up the MVP award for the white team.
With the battle for the center position still up for grabs, both freshman Zach Hanson and junior Will Artino were standouts in the paint. Artino’s veteran presence could very well give him the edge in this position battle. Make no mistake, though, Hanson looks like he will not be a slouch.
Perhaps one of the more surprising outings of the night came from someone who was flying under the radar. Devin Brooks, a junior guard formerly from Iowa Western, made his debut with the Bluejays and had an impressive night. The Harlem native picked up seven points and put the Blue team in position to win, bringing them to within four as the conclusion drew near.
While he could not will the Blue squad to a victory, he looked composed on the floor and made some crisp passes, showing off some ball handling skills as well. Last season, Brooks led Iowa Western with 15.9 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game, 5.6 assists per game and 1.9 steals per game. If the Bluejays can get even half of that from Brooks this coming season, their depth will greatly benefit.
Elsewhere, the ladies game was a run away with the Blue team putting on a dominant performance. Junior forward Alexis Akin-Otiko led the way with 12 points for her squad, with McKenzie Fujan following that with 11 of her own. For White, it was a struggle, but not for senior forward Sarah Nelson. Nelson, a hometown native, scored 9 of White’s 14 points, with the remaining five racked up by sophomore Marissa Janning.
The night was capped off with a fun, coed 3-point competition. Both the 2011 and 2012 champions were eliminated in the first round, as the tandem of Jordan Garrison and Grant Gibbs, as well as Sammy Jensen and Isaiah Zierden had unceremoniously early exits. In the end it was the community colleges transfer James Milliken, and freshman Lauren Works who were victorious over McDermott and McGregory. A sudden-death shoot off had to decide a winner after the two teams finished with 19 points, which was won Lauren Works, giving her and Millikens the victory.
Midnight Madness, or in this case, Bluejay Madness, is always a tease to the beginning of the season. Creighton opens exhibition play on the men's side on Nov. 1 against Northern State in Omaha. Meanwhile, the women open with Fort Hays State on Nov. 4.