Indiana St.-Creighton Preview
By JORDAN GARRETSON
(AP) -- Creighton rebounded from its first loss with ease, reeling off a number of lopsided victories. Coming off a closer conference win, the Bluejays should have a good chance to keep rolling when they host Indiana State on Saturday.
The No. 16 Bluejays can move to 3-0 in Missouri Valley Conference play for the first time in nine years by continuing their home domination of the Sycamores.
Creighton (13-1) has 13 straight over Indiana State at Omaha and 15 of the last 16 there, with the victories in that span coming by an average of 15.0 points. The Bluejays' only loss in that stretch, in 1999, came by one point.
Creighton has won three in a row in the series overall, taking the last meeting 61-60 on the road Feb. 25.
The Bluejays have been largely untested since an 83-70 loss to Boise State on Nov. 28, winning six in a row by an average of 18.5 points. Their seventh consecutive victory, 79-72 at Illinois State on Wednesday, was more tightly contested as the Redbirds cut the deficit to three with nine seconds left.
"It gets our confidence going a little bit. We were in a ton of close ones last year," said senior guard Grant Gibbs, who had 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds. "I think we're just comfortable in tight games, and kind of that belief in each other and our togetherness."
The Bluejays' field-goal percentage of 50.9 ranks among the top 10 in the nation, and Doug McDermott is one of the top scorers in the country at 22.9 points per game.
Creighton has been particularly strong from 3-point range, going 34 of 69 over its last three games and hitting 43.3 percent from beyond the arc on the season.
Reserve Ethan Wragge scored a season-high 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range as Bluejays hit a season-high 13 3s. Wragge, a career 41.9 percent 3-point shooter, had gone 7 for 33 (18.4 percent) in his previous seven games.
"There's a lot of things that keep me awake at night, and his shooting isn't one of them," coach Greg McDermott said. "I think he's one of the best shooters in the country. He just had a tough stretch ... I think he's back doing what he's going to do."
Creighton last opened 3-0 in conference play in 2003-04, when it jumped out to a 4-0 start against league opponents.
Indiana State (9-4) is also 2-0 in the MVC after beating Illinois State and Northern Iowa by a combined six points. It hasn't been 3-0 in conference since 2007-08.
The Sycamores' last four wins were by four or fewer points - two of them coming in overtime.
"We've gotten a lot better," coach Greg Lansing said. "The guys are really unselfish on the offensive end. We do make a lot of mistakes on 'D,' but our effort has been really solid.
"That's kind of where we're at right now - we're a pretty good team that works awfully hard with a long ways to go."
Guard Jake Odum is among the nation's leaders in free throws made (82) - just behind McDermott's 83 - and attempted (107). Odum leads the team with 14.8 points per game.
Updated January 4, 2013