Creighton had suffered its first loss of the season on Friday to Jarvis Summers and the Ole Miss Rebels in the Emerald Coast Classic. It's the second season in a row that they've suffered their first loss in their sixth game of the season, but they were in need of having short-term memory as they took the hardwood against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Saturday evening.
As it turns out, that's exactly what happened, as Creighton defeated Middle Tennessee 57-47 to wrap up their stay in the Emerald Coast Classic. The Bluejays and Blue Raiders hung with one another for much of the opening half, but Creighton used a big run in the latter stages of the first 20 minutes to pull away for good. Their largest lead of the night was a whopping 21 points, which was found at halftime. The Bluejays might've struggled for almost the entirety of the second half, but they were bailed out by a dismal effort from their opposition.
Middle Tennessee appeared to be overmatched at times against this potent offense. On the evening, they shot 18-for-46 from the field, 4-for-14 from the 3-point line, and 7-for-14 from the free throw line. Though they nearly matched them in rebounding, they simply could not keep up with the efficient offense they took the floor against.
Three things we learned
1. Creighton had an offensively inept performance, and still won by double digits. The Bluejays went ice cold in the second half. After putting up top notch numbers in the first 20 minutes, their second frame was ugly. They shot just 3-of-14 from the field in the second half of play, and went over 12 minutes without a single field goal converted. Only Isaiah Zierden, Zach Hanson and Will Artino were able to make their field goal attempts in that frame, as everyone could simply not get it going.
2. Free throw shooting rebounded off the tough performance against Ole Miss. The game against the Rebels did not fare so well for Creighton, especially at the line. On Saturday, though, they were aided by it and then some. Going 14-for-16 in the second half, and 18-for-21 in the entire, the Jays were thrusted into the win column thanks in part to making their gimmes. Zierden, Devin Brooks and Austin Chatman were a combined 10-for-10 from the line, as the JUCO transfer Brooks was able to get on the better end of what was a poor performance in the prior game.
3. Offensive rebounding problems reared their ugly heads again. Last year, Creighton was one of the worst teams in the country in Offensive Rebounding%. This year, they've gotten off to a skittish start, collecting 31.7 percent of their attempts thus far. That will surely go down after their game against Middle Tennessee. The Bluejays only nabbed two boards on the offensive glass, amounting for an OR% of just 9.09 percent. It was at 0 percent through the first half, for what it's worth.