The first test for the Creighton Bluejays in the Wooden Legacy Tournament looked tough from the outside looking in. As fate would have it, it would be a breeze. Devin Brooks scored 23 points in just 19 minutes and helped pave the way for an 88-60 victory for the Bluejays to move to 5-0 on the season. In addition, Creighton dealt the Arizona St. Sun Devils their first loss of the season.
The Harlem native was far and away the best player on the floor at Titan Gym in Fullerton, CA. Brooks finished the night shooting a staggering 81.8 percent from the field and was a perfect 4-4 from the 3-point line. Unlike his performances in prior games, Brooks did not get to the free throw line much, only finishing with two attempts, and sinking one. But with two assists and three rebounds, his impact was felt elsewhere on the floor. If Brooks has nights like this in the future, the dynamite Bluejays offense might become even more difficult to defend.
Doug McDermott might have had his worst performance of the season, and the native of Ames, IA still managed to lead all scorers with 27 points. The Sun Devils fouled him numerous times, but the senior forward made them pay. He was a perfect 10-10 from the line on a night where Creighton shot a combined 87.5 percent on free throws. McDermott also collected six rebounds, five of them on the defensive side of the glass.
Coming into the night, the focus was on McDermott and also Arizona State's Jahii Carson. Carson came into the averaging 23 points per game, including a superb 40 points against the UNLV Running Rebels. Unfortunately for Carson, he struggled mightily on Turkey Day. He finished with 15 points, leading all Sun Devils, but shot a meager 41.6 percent from the field (5-12 FG).
The sophomore point guard was not the only Sun Devil to struggle though. The Bluejays defense held their adversaries to under 40 percent shooting (37.9 percent) for all 40 minutes, and 26.9 percent from the 3-point line, a dramatic decline from a team that came into the game shooting over 40 percent from the perimeter and 55 percent elsewhere.
Another noticeable outcome of this game was that the Bluejays were also able to win the turnover battle 13-9, and create chances off those turnovers. Creighton finished with 20 points off of their 13 turnovers, while Arizona State could only amount nine points off of their nine turnovers. The bench output was also very noticeable, as Creighton outpaced their opponent 35-24 in that department.
Creighton now shifts gears and will be back on the court Friday night to take on the San Diego State Aztecs in the semifinal matchup in the Wooden Legacy Tournament. They will play the winner of George Washington-Marquette in the final, giving them a chance to possibly face their new BIG EAST adversary earlier than expected.
He played his worst game of the 2013-14 season, and still came away with a game-high 27 points and six rebounds. Making his impact felt on the glass, McDermott kept pace with his 27.5 points per game average.
|Will Artino||C||Not the best of nights for Mr. Artino. While he was perfect from the field, it was only on two shots, and he logged 15 minutes, the lowest of any starter. While Coach Greg McDermott has been running a rotation as of late with he and Zach Hanson, Artino could have certainly contributed more offensively. That said, when he was on the floor, the Sun Devils did have some trouble scoring in the paint.|
|Jahenns Manigat||B-||Manigat started off the second half on fire by scoring five of the first seven points for the Bluejays right out of the gate. With five assists and four rebounds, and finishing with eight points, Manigat contributed in many, many areas.|
|Grant Gibbs||B||Grant Gibbs, in his sixth year of eligibility, took a while to get going this season but his last two outings have been alright. Last night he scored nine points at an 80 percent clip and played some very good defense.|
|Austin Chatman||C||Being that he is primarily a distributor, seeing a low point total from Chatman should not surprise. However, scoring just five points in 25 minutes on six shots is not necessarily the greatest of outings. Considering that he only picked up two assists, it was a bit of an off night.|
|Devin Brooks||A+||The star of the night on both ends of the court. Brooks gives the Bluejays an added dimension that they had been looking for, and did he ever show it last night. 23 points in 19 minutes on 11 shots gets you noticed.|
|Isaiah Zierden||B-||For what he was asked to do, Zierden played well. In six minutes of action, Zierden scored four points, including the rare four-point play near the end of the first half.|
|Avery Dingman||C||Dingman logged 16 minutes of playing time last night but failed to contribute offensively. He scored zero points but did make an impact with two assists and three rebounds, so he did not leave empty-handed.|
|Ethan Wragge||C+||Wragge is usually hit-or miss when it comes to three-point shooting and unfortunately for the senior guard, he was a bit of a miss Thursday night. In 27 minutes, he scored just six points, both of them being three pointers and shot 40 percent from the perimeter. While that is a good night for most, it declined his average to 53.3 percent on the season. He did, though, pick up five rebounds in those 27 minutes played.|