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Game Guide: North Texas vs Creighton

Will the Jays be able to bounce back after their loss to Oklahoma?

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch, Listen, Stream

Gametime: 8:15pm CT

Location: CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Nebraska

Watch: FS1

Listen: 1620AM the Zone in Omaha / 88.1 & 95.3FM in Denton

Stream: Available on FoxSportsGo where available.

Odds & Ends

Creighton opens the day favored by 21.5 points.

Over/Under: 156.5

Other Hot, Steamy, Words about Sports

As per usual visit White & Blue Review for all the scoops and deets on the Bluejay basketball.

Be sure to check out Go Mean Green if you want to see a poll about polls and poles!

Visit the Omaha World~Herald because it's a fantastic read! Wow, just look at those posts, unbelievable! Some high quality, phenomenal content that comes from the World~Herald, I just cannot have my morning coffee without it! Visit Steve Pivovar, their fantastic and exuberant Creighton beat writer for all the wondrous words he produces for the Bluejays! Be sure to read all of their other news stories!

My Words about Sports

Creighton visited an empty gym last year and went against a North Texas squad 10 days before their first conference game against Providence. Two games prior to the North Texas game, Creighton went toe-to-toe with a pretty good Saint Mary's squad yet lost in overtime. After drubbing Texas Pan-Am the Bluejays set up for a road game that they most likely should've won.

They didn't.

Down 27 points with 15 minutes left in the game, it looked like the Bluejays were going to get crushed by an inferior opponent. They shot under 25% in the first half to allow North Texas to take a commanding lead. All seemed lost. Mother, fathers, cousins and siblings turned the television off and decided to spend the rest of their day doing something less depressing. As a masochist, I sat and watched. I watched as Creighton, down 26 points, crawl their way back to be within striking distance. A 26 point deficit turned into 20, then to 15, then to 10. North Texas couldn't buy a bucket and turned the ball over. The quarter-full gym began to stir.

The Mean Green lead continued to dwindle. 10 turned into five, five into 3. When it was all said and done, the Bluejays put on a 31-6 run to bring the game back. With just a minute remaining, Jays down by three, North Texas took the ball up the court, preparing to kill the clock and limp into the locker room. Instead, the Mean Green turned the ball over and the Bluejays took possession. Clock ticking, Isaiah Zierden managed to get his defender in the air on a pump fake, only to miss a three. Creighton got the offensive board, got it to Chatman in the corner, who also missed his three. Clock still ticking. Bluejays get another offensive board, Zierden replicates his first touch, fakes two guys out, and launches a wide open three. He missed. Ball ends up out of bounds off the Mean Green, Creighton inbounds with around 25 seconds left. Hegner launches a three off the inbound pass and... misses. North Texas ball. After a couple of fouls from the Bluejays, the boys from Denton put the lead to 7 with just seconds left. That was 4 shots to tie the game on a single possession and all four shots missed.

The Mean Green attempted to inbound it from the sidelines, only to be picked by Rick Kreklow who tossed up a three of his own, which clanged off and ended up bounding away off a North Texas player. Austin Chatman ended up making a three as time expired, yet it was too little too late.

It was a telling game of how the season would go for Creighton. Getting so close to coming away with a victory, yet falling just short.

With the series tied at five a piece, each team winning it's respective home games since 1950, the Bluejays welcome a different look UNT team. North Texas lost their first seven games of the season, including a blowout loss to Northern Iowa and two straight to Southern Illinois, yet are coming off of two straight wins against Nicholls State and Mississippi Valley State.

Creighton, however, is coming off of a close loss to top-5 Oklahoma. They looked pretty sharp against the Sooners, but much like against last season's loss at North Texas, could not put the ball in the bucket when it mattered most. I imagine that this will be a statement game for the Bluejays, even if it's a severely inferior opponent, because of what transpired 365 days ago but especially what happened about 72 hours previous to this game tipping off.

Quotes from around the bend

From Tom Nemitz at White & Blue Review:

The Mean Green come into the game with a 4-7 record, with seven straight losses sandwiched in between wins over a pair of NAIA programs (Jarvis Christian and Texas College) and two of the 20 worst teams in D1 according to KenPom (Nicholls State, 331st out of 351 and Mississippi Valley State, 345th). They’re ranked 293rd in adjusted offensive efficiency (again, out of 351 teams) and 317th in defensive efficiency. They turn it over more than all but 11 teams in D1, somehow losing the ball on a whopping 23% of their possessions. That’s right: nearly a quarter of their possessions end without even getting off a shot attempt! How is that even possible?

From Steve Pivovar at the Omaha World~Herald:

"They’ve won their last couple games here, so they’ll enter Monday’s game with a great deal of confidence. We’re going to have to be ready to hook it up Monday night."

The Bluejays are coming off an 87-74 loss at third-ranked Oklahoma on Saturday. The Sooners were in a situation similar to the one Creighton finds itself in preparing for North Texas.

Oklahoma let a win slip away in Omaha 13 months ago, squandering an 18-point lead in a 65-63 loss. That provided the Sooners with an extra dash of motivation in this season’s meeting with the Bluejays.

Asked if he’ll use what happened a year ago in an attempt to pump his team up, McDermott replied, "I already have."

Creighton guard James Milliken said McDermott mentioned last season’s North Texas game in the locker room after the Oklahoma loss.

"He told us we can come into the game thinking we just had the No. 3 team on the ropes," Milliken said. "We have to come in with a little chip on our shoulders because of what happened last year.

"I think we’ll be ready to go."