In the wake of their victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Sunday, the Creighton Bluejays welcomed the South Dakota Coyotes to Omaha. The Bluejays had dominated the Coyotes in their past meetings, leading the all-time series 43-11 heading into their Tuesday night showdown at CenturyLink Center Omaha. With an upcoming matchup with the Saint Mary's Gaels looming on Saturday, who find themselves within the Top 100 in Ken Pomeroy's always-fluid rankings, this was set to be nothing short of a pad for the Jays. After all, South Dakota is the 255th ranked team in the nation according to KenPom.com, so expecting big results is nothing out of the ordinary.
Things don't typically go to plan, though. That was apparent on Tuesday night as the Jays stumbled early and often over themselves. But despite a terrific outing from South Dakota's Tre Burnette, in which the Madison, Wisconsin dropped a hearty 24 points, and an equally impressive night from Tyler Larson who scored 25 -- including a late triple to send the game into overtime, and Brandon Bos who had 23, the Jays survived the onslaught and won by the tally of 91-88 in double overtime.
Neither team shot or scored particularly well on Tuesday but James Milliken's 23 points were most certainly the difference. The JUCO transfer shot 9-for-14 from the field and picked up important buckets late to help keep the Bluejays in front.
3 things we learned:
1. The Bluejays did not recover well from their big win on Sunday. After a raucous second half in Lincoln, the Bluejays were meager on Tuesday night in their home dwellings. While a win is a win, we did learn that the Jays couldn't seem to get it going at all in the first half and were heavily aided by their opponent's shooting woes. South Dakota shot just 41.4 percent from the field at the "CLink," as they could not fully capitalize off Creighton's early woes, even though they sent it to extra periods not once -- but twice.
2. James Milliken is most certainly an X Factor for this team going forward. Milliken, a JUCO transfer, was expected to bring an added element to the table this coming season and this game helped his cause. It's just the second time he's been able to net double figures, but boy was it needed. He nearly singlehandedly shot up the team's 3-point percentage on his own, shooting 4-for-7 from deep, which helped bump the team above the 40 percent threshold for only the third time this season.
3. Creighton would be wise to not let up so many second chance points going forward. The Jays were bested by the Coyotes 18-12 in this category, and given the slight differential in offensive rebounds -- 14-12 in South Dakota's favor -- it's a little befuddling to see them allow nearly 20 points on second chances by their adversaries. If they limit them going forward, they may not be pushed to the very limit as they were on Tuesday.