January 23, 2022

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Men’s Basketball Opens BIG EAST Play on Friday vs. No. 9 Villanova

34 min read

Game #12: #9 Villanova Wildcats at Creighton Bluejays

Friday,  Dec. 17, 2021 • 7 p.m.

CHI Health Center Omaha (17,352) • Omaha, Neb.

Radio: KOZN 1620 AM, 1620thezone.com; KOOO 101.9 FM; XM 383; SiriusXM app 973

Television: FS1 (Brandon Gaudin, Steve Lavin)

Series History: Villanova leads, 15-5

Last Meeting: #10 Villanova 72, #14 Creighton 60 on March 3, 2021 in Villanova, PA

LIVE VIDEO | LIVE AUDIO | LIVE STATS | CU NOTES | VU NOTES

Next Game

Creighton (8-3, 0-0 BIG EAST) opens BIG EAST play on Friday, Dec. 17 when it hosts defending league champ and No. 9 Villanova (7-3, 0-0 BIG EAST).

    Tip-off on First National Bank Court at CHI Health Center Omaha in Omaha, Neb., is set for 7 p.m..

COVID-19 Precautions at CU Athletic Events

Creighton University strongly encourages all fans to wear a face mask while attending indoor Creighton athletic events to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

    The University particularly encourages fans who are unvaccinated to wear a mask at all times during indoor Creighton athletic events for their own protection.

    Fans who have recently tested positive for COVID-19, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, should not attend any Creighton athletic events, indoors or outdoors, for the health and safety of other guests for at least 10 days following a positive test or the onset of symptoms. They should also be fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications, and symptoms should be improving.

    In addition, fans who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines regarding being around others.    

    Creighton will continue to closely monitor global, national and local COVID-19 data and trends, as well as public health guidelines, and adjust its response accordingly.      

Radio Broadcast Information

KOZN (1620 AM) will broadcast all Creighton men’s basketball games during the 2021-22 season. KOOO (101.9 FM) also broadcasts all home games.

     John Bishop and former Bluejay Nick Bahe will call the action. The audio is also webcast live at www.1620thezone.com and can be heard on channel 973 of the Sirius/XM app or XM channel 383.

Broadcast Information

Friday’s game will be called by Brandon Gaudin and Steve Lavin and be televised on FS1.

    The game will also be video webcast online at http://foxsports.com/live or the FoxSports app.

Live Stats Information

All of Creighton’s games this season will have free live stats. Visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the small bar graph icon on the scoreboard at the top of the page for the event of your choosing.

    Home games can also be followed by those who have mobile devices with internet capability at www.gocreightonstats.com.

Scouting Creighton

Creighton is 8-3 this season, including wins over No. 24 BYU and rivals Southern Illinois and Nebraska, but has alternated wins and losses over its previous four games.

    The Bluejays return seven lettermen but no starters from last year’s team that finished 22-9 overall, runner-up in the BIG EAST, and reached the program’s first Sweet 16 since 1974.

    Of CU’s scholarship returners, only Ryan Kalkbrenner (12.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg., 2.6 bpg.), Alex O’Connell (11.3 ppg., 5.5 rpg.) and Shereef Mitchell (3.5 ppg.) are back after playing last year.

    The Bluejays brought in grad transfers Ryan Hawkins (13.7 ppg., 6.8 rpg.) and KeyShawn Feazell (4.2 ppg., 3.5 rpg.) to bolster the front line. Hawkins has scored 25 points in both of  CU’s games against top-25 foes and leads the squad with 24 three-pointers made.

    Creighton also features the nation’s No. 7 recruiting class, with Arthur Kaluma (8.9 ppg,. 4.8 rpg.) and three-time BIG EAST Freshman of the Week Ryan Nembhard (12.7 ppg., 4.9 apg.)  starting every game to date.

    Creighton averages 71.9 points per game on 48.2 percent shooting from the field and has outrebounded foes by 4.5 caroms per contest. The Bluejays have held foes to 39.7 percent shooting and 65.4 points per contest.

    

Scouting #9 Villanova

Villanova is 7-3 on the season and has been idle since last Sunday’s 57-36 loss at defending national champion Baylor. The Wildcats have tested themselves with a challenging schedule that also includes games away from home against Purdue, UCLA, Syracuse and Tennessee.

    Fifth-year senior Collin Gillespie (16.2 ppg., 3.4 apg., 1.4 spg.) leads the Wildcats in scoring, assists and steals.  The Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year tops Nova with 36 three-point baskets and has made 85.7 percent of his free throw attempts.

    Justin Moore (15.6 ppg., 5.5 rpg.), Brandon Slater (11.8 ppg.) and Jermaine Samuels (11.0 ppg.) give the Wildcats four men who score in double-figures.

    Villanova averages 74.0 points per game and yields just 61.5 per contest. Nova shoots 42.6 percent from the field, including 37.7 percent from downtown, as well as 77.2 percent at the line.

The Series With Villanova

Villanova leads the all-time series with Creighton, 15-5, including a 5-3 record in Omaha.

    Creighton swept the regular-season series in 2013-14 with a pair of victories by 20+ points, but the Wildcats won the next eight meetings before CU topped ‘Nova in February of 2018.

    The teams split a pair of meetings last season, with the home team winning each time, including an 86-70 Bluejay decision in Omaha.

    Greg McDermott is 5-12 against Villanova and Jay Wright. Wright is 12-5 versus Creighton.

The Creighton Coaches

Greg McDermott (Northern Iowa, 1988) owns a 261-128 record in his 12th season with the Bluejays. He owns a career mark of 541-323 in his 28th season, and is 410-259 in his 21st Division I campaign.

    McDermott led Creighton to its first BIG EAST regular-season title in 2019-20, taking a Bluejay team that was picked seventh in the league’s preseason poll and ending the year ranked seventh nationally. The Cascade, Iowa native then coached Creighton to its first Sweet 16 since 1974 in 2020-21 and to a share of its first regular-season BIG EAST title in 2019-20.

    McDermott has previously been a head coach at Iowa State (2006-10), Northern Iowa (2001-06), North Dakota State (2000-01) and Wayne State (1994-2000).

    He is assisted by Alan Huss, Ryan Miller and Jalen Courtney-Williams.

With A Win…

 – Teams with Ryan Hawkins would improve to 168-11 at the college level, and 11-0 in the game following a loss.

– Creighton would improve to 26-36 all-time vs. top-25 teams under Greg McDermott, and 11-17 against top-10 clubs.

– Creighton would own multiple wins over top-25 opposition for a seventh straight season.

– Creighton would earn its sixth win vs. Villanova since 2013-14, the most of any Wildcat opponent in that time.

– Creighton would improve to 7-4 in its last 11 games against top-10 opponents.

– Creighton would improve to 6-3 in BIG EAST openers, and 8-4 in all league openers under Greg McDermott.

– Creighton would win its 33rd straight Friday home game, a streak that dates back to 1975.

– With a Creighton win, Villanova would drop under .500 in league play for the first time since being 4-5 following a loss on Feb. 3, 2013, which was before the league’s realignment.

Friday Night Lights

Creighton doesn’t play many Friday home games, but judging by its success, it might not be a bad idea for the future, as CU has won 32 straight Friday home games and is 21-0 at CHI Health Center Omaha on the final day of the work week.

    Creighton has won every Friday home game it’s played since Dec. 12, 1975, back when Greg McDermott was 11 years old, and more than 27 years before current Bluejay freshman Ryan Nembhard was born.

    The Villanova contest is Creighton’s first and only Friday home game this season.

Top 25 Success

Friday’s game against No. 9 Villanova will be the third top-25 opponent that Creighton has faced in its last four games, having lost to No. 19 Iowa State on Dec. 4 and beaten No. 24 BYU on Dec. 11.

    The Bluejays have beaten multiple top-25 foes in each of the previous six seasons, something only 11 teams (Baylor, Creighton,  Florida State, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue, Texas Tech, Villanova and West Virginia.) could claim entering 2021-22.

    Of that group of 11, only Gonzaga and Purdue have already posted multiple top-25 wins this season.

Creighton’s Most Top-25 Wins, Season

    Wins    Season    Top-25 Victims

    6    2019-20    #8 Villanova, #10 Seton Hall,

            #12 Texas Tech, #19 Marquette,

            #21 Butler, #8 Seton Hall

    4    2016-17    #9 Wisconsin, #12 Butler,

            #16 Butler, #22 Xavier

    4    2017-18    #3 Villanova, #19 Seton Hall,

            #20 Northwestern, #23 UCLA

    3    2020-21    #5 Villanova, #22 Xavier, #23 UConn

    2    1973-74    #6 Marquette, #16 Louisville

    2    2001-02    #15 Florida, #17 Western Kentucky

    2    2006-07    #11 Southern Illinois, #24 Xavier

    2    2013-14    #4 Villanova, #6 Villanova

    2    2015-16    #5 Xavier, #18 Butler

    2    2018-19    #10 Marquette, #16 Clemson

Ranking News & Notes

– Creighton is 25-36 under Greg McDermott against nationally-ranked teams, 18 more top-25 wins than any other coach in Creighton history. Prior to McDermott’s arrival, Creighton was 18-115 all-time against top-25 foes.

– Creighton has beaten at least one ranked team in each of the last eight seasons (including 2021-22), and multiple ranked foes in each of the previous six years (entering 2021-22).

    On a national basis, the only 23 teams with a top-25 win each of the previous eight seasons (entering 2021-22) were Baylor, Clemson, Creighton, Duke, Florida State, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Syracuse, Texas Tech, Villanova, Virginia, West Virginia,  Wisconsin and Xavier.

– Creighton is 20-19 since the start of the 2016-17 season against ranked teams. The 20 wins over ranked teams in that time are 16th-most nationally, and trails only Villanova (25) among BIG EAST clubs.

– Creighton is 1-5 all-time against teams ranked exactly No. 9, but 1-0 under Greg McDermott. That win was a 2016 victory vs. Wisconsin.

– Creighton is 5-12 all-time against ranked Villanova teams, including a 3-4 mark in Omaha.

– Creighton is 15-68 all-time against top-10 teams, but 10-17 under Greg McDermott. That includes a 6-4 mark in its last 10 games vs. top-10 foes.

Big Mac On The Attack

Greg McDermott‘s teams have consistently battled some of the best teams in the country.

    The chart below shows how his teams have consistently outpaced those of his predecessors against top-25 foes.

Category    Pre-McDermott    Under McDermott

vs. Top 25 Teams    18-115    25-36

vs. Top 10 Teams    5-31    10-17

vs. Top 10 on Road    1-28    4-9

vs. Top 25 on Road    2-63    8-16

The Cats Meow

Villanova has the second-best win percentage in the country since the start of the 2013-14 season, which coincides with the realignment of the BIG EAST. Villanova is 240-48 (.833), just behind a Gonzaga program that is 264-34 (.886).

    Of the 84 different schools to play Villanova in that time, only 23 have actually beaten the Wildcats.

    Creighton is one of nine schools to post multiple victories over the Wildcats in that time.  Creighton’s five victories over Villanova are tied for the most of any opponent with Butler and Seton Hall.

McDermott On The Wright Path

Villanova’s Jay Wright owns more wins at his current school than any other current BIG EAST coach, having led the Wildcats to 497 victories in 21 seasons. That’s an average of 23.67 wins per season (counting this season and this year’s wins) for Wright, and a .721 winning percentage in that time.

    His counterpart on Friday, Creighton’s Greg McDermott, owns a record of 261-128 in his 12 seasons with the Bluejays (second among league coaches), an average of 21.75 wins per season. McDermott owns a .671 winning percentage at CU.

    Wright and McDermott are the only current BIG EAST coaches who have averaged 20 or more wins per season in their current position. In fact, only five league coaches (Jordan, McDermott, Cooley, Willard and Wright) have ever won 20 or more games in a season (as a head coach) at their current school.

    After 11 games of his 12th season at Villanova, Wright owned 243 wins and had been to seven NCAA Tournaments at VU, while McDermott owns 261 wins. He has coached CU to six NCAA bids to this point and had a seventh wiped away by COVID in 2020.

    Wright had a 249-140 record after exactly 389 games with the Wildcats, while McDermott is 261-128 through 389 games at Creighton thus far.

Repeat After Three

Few teams in the country have made as many three-pointers in the last nine seasons as the team’s featured in Friday’s match-up. Since 2013-14, Villanova leads the nation in that category with 2,781 trifectas, while Creighton is fourth with 2,582.

    Creighton is 0-11 all-time when making eight three-pointers or less against Villanova (including three meetings in the 1950’s long before the 3-point line existed), but 5-4 when making nine or more trifectas. CU has hit 65-of-127 treys (52.2%) in the five wins, but 88-of-283 triples (31.1%) in the 15 losses.

    Villanova has made nine or more three-pointers against Creighton in 12-of-17 meetings as BIG EAST rivals.

    Creighton is 24-2 in its last 26 games when attempting 15 or fewer three-pointers.

    Since Greg McDermott was hired in 2010, Creighton has made 3,456 three-pointers in 389 games, good for second-most nationally behind Belmont (3,624). Villanova is fourth on that list with 3,391 treys.

Most 3FG Made Since 2013-14 (thru 12/14/2021)

Rk.    Team    3FG    Games

1.    Villanova    2,781    288

2.    Belmont    2,709    271

3.    North Florida    2,655    269

4.    Creighton    2,582    279

5.    Citadel    2,561    253

Something About Creighton

Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Villanova has suffered only 48 losses, with just 11 of those coming by 15 points or more.

    Four of those setbacks have come against Creighton.

Villanova’s Largest Margin of Defeat Since 2013-14

    Margin    Score    Date

    28    Creighton 96, Villanova 68    1/20/14

    27    Michigan 73, Villanova 46    11/14/18

    26    Purdue 87, Villanova 61    3/23/19

    25    Ohio State 76, Villanova 51    11/13/19

    23    Oklahoma 78, Villanova 55    12/7/15

    21    Creighton 101, Villanova 80    2/16/14

    21    Baylor 57, Villanova 36    12/12/21

    20    Georgetown 78, Villanova 58    1/19/15

    16    Creighton 86, Villanova 70    2/13/21

    16    Syracuse 78, Villanova 62    12/28/13

    15    Creighton 76, Villanova 61    2/1/20

One By One

Creighton came up one point short on Tuesday vs. Arizona State after missing a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer in a 58-57 loss.

    It was Creighton’s first one-point game since defeating UC Santa Barbara 63-62 in the First Round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, which started CU’s first run to the Sweet 16 since 1974.

    Tuesday was Creighton’s first game decided by a 58-57 score since defeating Alabama on March 16, 2012 in the NCAA Tournament.

    Creighton is now 8-9 in one-point games under Greg McDermott and 81-77 in program history in one-point games.

    Creighton had not played consecutive one-point games since Feb. 7, 2018 (won at DePaul, 76-75) and Feb. 10, 2018 (lost to #5 Xavier, 72-71).

Rare Home Skid

Creighton enters Friday’s game having lost its previous home games against No. 19 Iowa State (Dec. 4) and Arizona State (Dec. 14).

    The Bluejays will be looking to avoid their first three-game home losing streak since dropping the final three home games of the 2014-15 campaign by a combined seven points.

Heavyweight Showdown

Friday’s game features the two winningest basketball programs in BIG EAST play since realignment in 2013-14.

    Villanova has 114 wins to lead the pack by a wide margin, but Creighton’s 83 league victories are second-most.

Men’s Basketball BIG EAST Wins, 2013-14 to Present

Team    W    L    Pct.

Villanova    114    27    .809

Creighton    83    63    .568

Xavier    80    59    .576

Providence    79    66    .545

Seton Hall    76    69    .524

Butler    72    74    .493

Marquette    68    77    .469

Georgetown    58    84    .408

St. John’s    55    90    .379

DePaul    30    111    .213

Connecticut    11    6    .647

Only In 2020-21 (Let’s Hope)

Though Creighton’s 14 BIG EAST wins last season were three more than any other team in the BIG EAST, the Bluejays were the second seed in the conference tournament since the league decided before the season to go by winning percentage to determine a league champion and seeds.

    The BIG EAST wasn’t alone in this. It was one of eight leagues that saw the top team in winning percentage not be the same team that had the most conference wins.

    The BIG EAST has a new policy in place for 2021-22. Under the new policy, if a conference game cannot be played on its originally scheduled date because one team is unable to begin or complete the game due to an insufficient number of players, including as a result of COVID-19, that team will have forfeited the game, with a loss assigned to that team in the conference standings.  A win will be assigned to its opponent.

    Additionally, if a conference game cannot be played on its original date because both teams are unable to begin or complete a game due to an insufficient number of players, including as a result of COVID-19, both teams shall be assigned forfeits, which will be applied to the conference standings.

Wins Leader Not League Champ, Nationally, in 2020-21

League    Conf. Wins Leader    Conf. Champ

American    Houston, 14-3    Wichita St., 11-2

BIG EAST    Creighton, 14-6    Villanova, 11-4

Big 10    Illinois, 16-4    Michigan, 14-3

Conf-USA    UAB, 13-5    Louisiana Tech, 12-4

MEAC    Norfolk St., 8-4    North Carolina A&T, 7-1

    Coppin State, 8-4    

MWC    Utah State, 15-4    San Diego St., 14-3

Pac-12    USC, 15-5    Oregon, 14-4

Summit    South Dakota, 11-4    South Dakota St., 9-3

    N. Dakota St., 11-4

Making An Entrance

Ryan Nembhard, Ryan Hawkins, Arthur Kaluma, Trey Alexander, John Christofilis, KeyShawn Feazell, Rati Andronikashvili and Modestsas Kancleris could each play in their first career BIG EAST game on Friday.

    Below is a listing of the only 17 men in league history to debut in the BIG EAST with a game of 25 or more points.

    The most points by a Bluejay in their BIG EAST debut is 19 by Doug McDermott vs. Marquette on Dec. 31, 2013.

MOST POINTS – FIRST BIG EAST GAME

41    Steve Novak, Marquette vs. UConn, 1-3-06

40    James Bouknight, UConn vs. Creighton, 12-20-20

32    Moe Harkless, St. John’s vs. PC, 12-27-11

30    Troy Murphy, Notre Dame vs. PC, 12-8-98

    Allen Iverson, Georgetown vs. PC, 12-7-94

29    Caron Butler, Connecticut vs. BC, 1-3-01

    Khalid El-Amin, Connecticut vs. WVU, 12-3-97

    Tim Thomas, Villanova vs. PC, 12-4-96

28    Troy Bell, Boston College vs. PC, 1-8-00

    Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall vs. UConn, 1-3-08

26    Seldon Jefferson, WVU vs. Georgetown, 12-2-95

    Lawrence Moten, Syracuse vs. BC, 1-2-92

    Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s vs. Butler, 12-29-16

25    Rodney Bullock, Providence at Butler, 12-31-15

    Craig Smith, Boston College vs. PC, 1-2-03

    Jerome Coleman, Rutgers vs. Syracuse, 1-2-02

    Steve Rich, Miami vs. Syracuse, 12-22-93

Conference Openers Have Gone Well

Creighton owns a 16-7 record in its last 23 conference openers, but has never opened league play vs. Villanova.

    Greg McDermott is 11-9 all-time in conference openers as a Division I head coach, including a 7-4 mark at Creighton (5-3 in the BIG EAST).

    The last team to win a share of any BIG EAST regular-season title after losing the league opener was the 2012-13 Georgetown club. No squad has won an outright title after losing the league opener since Notre Dame won the West Division in 2000-01. And no team has won a league outright title in a one-division BIG EAST after losing the league lid-lifter since Georgetown in 1988-89.

Yearly League Openers Under Greg McDermott

Year    Won (Final W-L)    Lost (Final W-L)

2010-11    Illinois St. (10-8)

2011-12        Missouri St. (14-4)

2012-13    Evansville (13-5)

2013-14    Marquette (14-4)

2014-15        Providence (4-14)

2015-16    St. John’s (9-9)

2016-17    Seton Hall (10-8)

2017-18        Seton Hall (10-8)

2018-19    Providence (9-9)

2019-20    Marquette (13-5)

2020-21        Marquette (14-6)

Up, Up, And Away

Since Feb. 19, 2019, Creighton owns a 32-11 mark in regular-season BIG EAST games. That’s six more wins than anyone else in the league in that time.

    Not only that, but Creighton owned the most wins to close the 2018-19 season after Feb. 19th, tied for the most wins in 2019-20, and had the most wins in 2020-21 as well.

Conference Records Since Feb. 19, 2019

Team    After 2/19/19    ’19-20    ’20-21    Total

Creighton    5-0    13-5    14-6    32-11

Villanova    2-3    13-5    11-4    26-12

Seton Hall    2-3    13-5    10-9    25-17

Providence    3-2    12-6    9-10    24-18

UConn    2-4#    10-8#    11-6    23-18

Butler    1-4    10-8    8-12    19-24

Xavier    4-1    8-10    6-7    18-18

Marquette    2-4    8-10    8-11    18-25

Georgetown    4-2    5-13    7-9    16-24

St. John’s    1-4    5-13    10-9    16-26

DePaul    2-3    3-15    2-13    7-31

#includes 2018-19 and 2019-20 in the AAC

How’s This, For Starters?

Creighton and Villanova are the only two teams in the BIG EAST Conference to have used the same starting five for every game this season.

    Creighton’s bench has scored 140 points in 11 games, while Nova’s reserve corps has scored 122 points in 10 games.

    What makes it all the more impressive is that the five men to start for Creighton this year had combined for ZERO combined starts as Bluejays entering the season, whereas Villanova’s Collin Gillespie (87), Justin Moore (41), Jermaine Samuels (76) and Brandon Slater (2) had 206 career starts as a Wildcat entering this winter.

Strong League Start Projects To Postseason

Creighton has started 5-2 or better in league play in seven of Greg McDermott‘s first 11 seasons at the helm.

    Six of those teams to start like that reached the NCAA Tournament, while a seventh reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.

    Each of Creighton’s 15 teams since 1988-89 to start 5-2, 6-1 or 7-0 after seven games in league play have reached the postseason, a stretch that includes 10 NCAA Tournaments and five NIT’s.

    Last year CU started 6-1 in league play and finished in second place at 14-6 overall in BIG EAST action.

Preseason BIG EAST Poll

Creighton was picked eighth in the preseason BIG EAST Conference poll that was selected via a vote of league coaches.

    Villanova was a unanimous selection to win the league, with Connecticut and Xavier finishing second and third, respectively. St. John’s is fourth, followed by Seton Hall, Butler, Providence and Creighton. Rounding out the poll are Marquette, Georgetown and DePaul.

    Villanova standout Collin Gillespie was named Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year, and was joined on the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team by Nate Watson (Providence), Julian Champagnie (St. John’s), Jared Rhoden (Seton Hall), Paul Scruggs (Xavier) and Zach Freemantle (Xavier).

    Creighton is the only school in the league that has met or exceeded its preseason BIG EAST prognostication every year since joining the league, as seen below:

Creighton’s BIG EAST Preseason Poll History

Year     Preseason     Actual     Preseason All-BIG EAST

2013-14     3rd     2nd     Doug McDermott (1st)

2014-15     9th     T-9th     –

2015-16     9th     6th     –

2016-17     3rd     T-3rd     Maurice Watson Jr. (1st); Marcus Foster (HM)

2017-18     5th     T-3rd     Marcus Foster (1st); Khyri Thomas (HM)

2018-19     9th     T-3rd     Martin Krampelj (HM)

2019-20     7th     T-1st    Ty-Shon Alexander (1st)

2020-21     2nd     2nd    Marcus Zegarowski (1st); Mitch Ballock (2nd)

Looking At McDermott’s Home Run

Friday marks Greg McDermott‘s 200th home game as head coach at Creighton.

    He’s currently 161-38 on the Bluejay sideline at CHI Health Center Omaha.

    Five of those losses have come against Villanova, tied with Marquette for the most vs. any foe.

Block Party

After owning seven or more blocked shots in a game just nine times in Greg McDermott‘s first 11 seasons on the Bluejay sideline, Creighton has five contests this winter with at least seven swats.

    Creighton is 10-4 all-time under McDermott when blocking seven or more shots, and the four losses have come by a combined 10 points.

    Creighton’s 5.36 blocked shots per game as a team is its best figure since averaging 6.03 blocks per game in 1984-85.

    Creighton is 6-0 this season when blocking six shots or more. Villanova has had its shot blocked 24 times all season in 24 games, with Syracuse (7) the only team to swat more than four Wildcat shots.

All Ball

Ryan Kalkbrenner ranks third in the BIG EAST with 2.64 blocked shots per game, a figure that ranks as the best by a Bluejay since Benoit Benjamin averaged 5.06 blocks per game in 1984-85.

    Though he’s got an uphill climb to catch Big Ben, Kalkbrenner is still on track to become the first Bluejay to average more than 2.00 blocks per game since Chad Gallagher (2.19) in 1990-91.

    Making the 7-foot-1 sophomore’s accomplishments all the more impressive is that the big man owns 29 blocks but has been called for just 13 fouls. That makes him one of two players nationally (with Indiana All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis) with at least 23 blocks and fewer than 14 fouls.

You’ve Been Blocked!

Ryan Kalkbrenner had five blocked shots on both Nov. 22 vs. Southern Illinois and Nov. 27 vs. SIUE. Just how rare is that? In Greg McDermott‘s 12 years on the Creighton sideline, the only Bluejay with multiple games of 5+ blocks in the same season had been Gregory Echenique, who did it in 2010-11 (2x) as well as 2012-13 (4x).

    He’s the first Bluejay with five swats in consecutive games since Benoit Benjamin did it in six straight games from Jan. 27-Feb. 14, 1985. Benjamin had a streak of 7, 12, 6, 5, 5 and 6 rejections during that stretch.

    Benjamin set MVC records that still stand with 411 career blocks and 162 rejections in 1984-85.

    Kalkbrenner had his third game this season with five swats on Dec. 11 vs. No. 24 BYU.

Wins On Wins on Wins

Creighton’s Nov. 21 loss vs. Colorado State was the first time in the six-year college career of Ryan Hawkins that one of his teams lost on a neutral floor. The Northwest Missouri State transfer is now 40-1 on neutral sites when you include his 3-1 mark this year.

    He enters Friday’s game vs. Villanova with a team record of 167-11 (.938) at all sites, and has never lost consecutive games at the college level.

Hawkins Scores 25

Ryan Hawkins scored 25 points vs. No. 19 Iowa State. It was the 96th time in his career that the Atlantic, Iowa native scored in double-figures, and 46th time he’s scored 20 points or more in a game.

    Hawkins’ 25 points were the most by a Bluejay in any game this season, and most by any CU player against a top-25 team since Marcus Zegarowski scored 25 points in an 86-70 win vs. No. 5 Villanova on Feb. 13, 2021.

    Hawkins then scored 25 points against No. 24 BYU in his next outing, making him the first Bluejay with back-to-back games of 25 or more points since Marcus Foster had consecutive 29 point efforts on Feb. 7 & 10, 2018.

    Hawkins is the first Bluejay with multiple games of 25+ points vs. top-25 teams in the same season since Ty-Shon Alexander in 2018-19. Marcus Foster in 2017-18 is the last person with three such games in a season.

Youth Is Served

Creighton has just seven non-freshmen on this year’s roster, and is playing multiple freshmen on a consistent basis this season. Creighton has had at least one freshman on the floor for every second of every game this season, and actually had a late stretch of 1:28 vs. Colorado State when all five of its players on the floor were freshmen.

    Creighton has outscored teams by 90 when it two freshmen or less on the court, but have been outscored by 18 when it has three or more freshmen on the floor.

    All told, 998:32 of Creighton’s 2,200 total minutes (45.39 percent) have been played by freshmen this season.

    By comparison, last season Creighton had a freshman on the floor just 32.4 percent of the time and had multiple freshmen on the floor just 17 minutes (of 1,250) all season (1.4 percent). Only 7.5 percent (465:52 of 6250) of CU’s overall minutes were played by freshmen in 2020-21.

Freshmen    Time    Score    Margin

0 freshmen:    Never    —    —

1 freshmen:    33:45    54-49    +5

2 freshmen:    268:22    528-443    +85

3 freshmen:    104:14    175-188    (-13)

4 freshmen:    22:11    29-37    (-8)

5 freshmen:    1:28    5-2    +3

The Ryan Express

Creighton has started three players with the first name of Ryan in each game this winter, as Ryan Nembhard, Ryan Hawkins and Ryan Kalkbrenner are all entrenched as starters. Those three men are also CU’s top three scorers.

    In the Dec. 11 win vs. No. 24 BYU, Nembhard, Hawkins and Kalkbrenner combined for 56 points, 21 rebounds and seven blocked shots.

     For the season, the “Ryan Express” has contributed 64.4 percent of Creighton’s blocked shots, 54.2 percent of its points, 47.4 percent of its assists, 46.7 percent of its rebounds grabbed and 41.1 percent of its steals.

    Creighton had not started multiple players with the same first name in the same regular-season game since Nov. 18, 2006, when both Nick Porter and Nick Bahe started against Nebraska.

    Creighton has not had a season in which three players with the same first name all started at least once in the regular-season since at least 1980.

    With so many men named Ryan (not to mention assistant coach Ryan Miller), the Bluejay staff has gone to referring to Hawkins as “Hawk”, the 7-foot-1 Kalkbrenner as “Big Ryan” and Nembhard as “R2”, in honor of his uniform number, as well as “Coach Miller”.

Elite Company For Hawkins

In 1991 when Creighton was in the Missouri Valley Conference, former Bluejay Bob Harstad (along with Oscar Robertson, Larry Bird and Xavier McDaniel) was one the answers to the trivia question of “Who are the only four players in MVC history with 2,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds”?

    Years later, Doug McDermott finished his career with 3,150 points and 1,088 rebounds, though not all those rebounds came while playing within The Valley.

    So what’s the point, you’re asking? Creighton senior Ryan Hawkins owns 2,249 career points and 1,023 career rebounds, though the majority of his totals were accumulated at the Division II level at Northwest Missouri State.

    Entering this season, only 117 players in NCAA history have achieved 2,000 points and 1,000 points at the Division I level.

A Good Start

Here’s a look at how Creighton has done statistically after 11 games in recent seasons.

    Of note, Creighton has started 6-5 or better after 11 games in 27 of the past 28 seasons.

    This is the program’s 11th straight season of a 7-4 start or better and 24th time in the past 25 years.

Creighton Stats Through 11 Games, Since 1994-95

Year    W-L    PPG    FG%    3FG    10+ PPG guys

2021-22    8-3    71.9    .482    67    4

2020-21    9-2    82.0    .491    114    5

2019-20    9-2    78.9    .469    110    4

2018-19    7-4    82.5    .505    124    3

2017-18    9-2    90.2    .510    115    3

2016-17    11-0    89.3    .539    106    4

2015-16    7-4    84.5    .490    105    5

2014-15    8-3    73.2    .435    98    2

2013-14    9-2    82.3    .487    120    2

2012-13    10-1    79.6    .508    98    2

2011-12    10-1    86.1    .517    102    2

2010-11    7-4    68.2    .427    77    3

2009-10    5-6    72.5    .455    91    2

2008-09    9-2    76.4    .442    97    3

2007-08    9-2    79.5    .476    92    2

2006-07    7-4    67.0    .418    65    3

2005-06    7-4    69.3    .401    77    3

2004-05    8-3    68.5    .432    87    2

2003-04    11-0    70.6    .459    66    1

2002-03    10-1    83.8    .521    110    1

2001-02    7-4    75.9    .453    67    3

2000-01    9-2    77.0    .451    90    3

1999-00    9-2    73.2    .457    88    2

1998-99    9-2    77.2    .462    86    2

1997-98    8-3    78.1    .474    81    1

1996-97    5-6    64.8    .406    60    2

1995-96    6-5    66.6    .395    65    3

1994-95    5-6    65.0    .401    74    4

Nembhard A Consistent Threat

Ryan Nembhard scored in double-figures each of Creighton’s first six games and has had nine points or more in all but one outing this winter.

    In the last 27 years, the only other newcomers to score in double-figures during CU’s first six games had been true freshman Doug McDermott (8 straight in 2010-11), redshirt freshman Justin Patton (8 in 2016-17) and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster (8 in 2016-17), who was a junior.

    Nembhard’s 138 points through 11 games are the most by any Bluejay freshman since Benoit Benjamin had 140 in 1982-83. Benjamin had 17 points in his 12th game.

Most Points, Newcomers First 11 Games Since 1994-95

    Pts.    Name, Class    Year    After 12

    200    Marcus Foster, Jr.    2016-17    229

    151    Ryan Hawkins, Sr.    2021-22    ? ? ?

    138    Ryan Nembhard, Fr.    2021-22    ? ? ?

    137    Doug McDermott, Fr.     2010-11    151

    136    Maurice Watson Jr., Jr.    2015-16    152

    132    Damien Jefferson, So.    2018-19    139

    130    Justin Patton, Fr.    2016-17    148

    128    Gregory Echenique, So.    2010-11    138

    125    P’Allen Stinnett, Fr.    2007-08    130

    122    Cole Huff, Jr.    2015-16    135

    116    Rodney Buford, Fr.    1995-96    128

    115    Brody Deren, So.    2001-02    134

    114    Khyri Thomas, Fr.    2015-16    118

    110    Edward St. Fleur, Jr.    1995-96    115

Big Deficits, No Big Deal

Creighton owns 25 victories since the start of the 2010-11 season after trailing by double-figures at some point, including two this season. Twelve of those 25 comebacks have come away from home.

    Creighton’s comeback from 16 points down vs. SIUE on Nov. 27 was its biggest since rallying from 16 points down at Seton Hall on Jan. 27th.

    If you’re curious, CU’s largest comeback win since 2000 came on Jan. 28, 2006, when the Jays trailed 25-6 early before rallying to beat Wichita State on a buzzer-beater by Anthony Tolliver.

CU’s Double-Digit Comebacks Since 2010-11

Deficit    Opponent    Date

18    #18 Oklahoma    11/19/14

17    at San Diego State    11/30/11

16    at Evansville    02/16/13

16    at Seton Hall    01/27/21

16    SIU Edwardsville    11/27/21

15    Arkansas-Pine Bluff    11/09/21

14    Evansville    02/21/12

13    at Saint Joseph’s    11/16/13

13    Xavier    01/12/14

13    #22 Xavier    12/23/20

12    Saint Joseph’s    12/11/10

12    at DePaul    01/17/16

12    East Tennessee State    11/11/18

11    at Wichita State    12/31/11

11    Northern Iowa    01/10/12

11    vs. Alabama    03/16/12

11    vs. Ole Miss    11/21/16

11    vs. Connecticut    03/12/21

10    UAB    11/14/12

10    vs. Drake    03/02/12

10    at Nebraska    12/07/14

10    South Dakota    12/09/14

10    St. John’s    01/03/18

10    at DePaul    02/07/18

10    Bemidji State    02/13/18

Speaking of Defense

Creighton had nine blocked shots on Nov. 27 vs. SIUE, tying its most in any game in Greg McDermott‘s 12 seasons. CU also had nine rejections on Feb. 13, 2018 vs. Division II Bemidji State. The nine swats were CU’s most against a Division I foe since also posting nine at Evansville on Jan. 3, 2010.

    Of Creighton’s nine blocks, eight came in the second half. Seven of those came in the final 15 minutes, when SIUE went just 2-of-16 from the floor.

    Also noteworthy was CU’s defense beyond the arc. SIUE made just 1-of-15 three-point tries, tying the fewest trifectas made by a Bluejay opponent under McDermott. It was the fifth time it had happened, and first occasion since No. 5 Xavier shot 1-of-21 on Feb. 9, 2016.

Putting The Jam In Paradise Jam

Creighton had 17 dunks in three games at the Paradise Jam, including eight against Colorado State on Nov. 21. The Bluejays own 49 dunks through 11 games this season and had six on Tuesday vs. Arizona State, including five in the first seven minutes of the game.

    CU’s 49 dunks are its second-most through 11 games during any of Greg McDermott‘s 12 seasons as Creighton head coach, trailing only the 52 through 11 games of a season by the 2016-17 team.

    Ryan Kalkbrenner leads CU with 23 of those slams after he threw down 29 dunks all of last season in 31 games played. The sophomore’s 23 slams to date trail only Justin Patton’s 28 dunks through 11 games in the McDermott era.

    CU’s 2016-17 team finished with 144 dunks in 35 games, with Patton owning 72 of those slams.

At The Buzzer!

Ryan Nembhard drove the length of the court in the final 5.2 seconds to sink a floater as time expired to give Creighton a 66-64 win vs. Southern Illinois on Nov. 22 in the third-place game of the Paradise Jam.

    Ironically enough, the game-ending play was installed several years ago by former Bluejay assistant Paul Lusk, himself a Southern Illinois grad.

    The basket was Creighton’s first go-ahead shot as time expired since Booker Woodfox beat Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinals on March 6, 2009.

    Prior to Woodfox, Creighton’s last previous buzzer-beater had also come against Wichita State, as Anthony Tolliver’s shot from the right baseline beat Wichita State on Jan. 28, 2006.

    Nate Funk also hit a buzzer-beater to beat Greg McDermott‘s Northern Iowa team on Jan. 15, 2005 in Cedar Falls.

    Shots by those four men remain the only game-winning buzzer-beaters by Creighton since the start of the 1999-2000 season.

Kalkbrenner Playing Big

In his last nine games, sophomore center Ryan Kalkbrenner has set career-highs in rebounds (10 vs. Iowa State and Arizona State), points (19 vs. Brown) and blocked (5 on three occasions).

    Kalkbrenner has had 10 or more points in nine of the past 10 contests, compared to seven total double-figure outings in his 2020-21 freshman campaign that spanned 31 contests.

Five Threats To Score

All five Creighton starters are averaging at least 8.9 points per game this season, a fact made all the more impressive when you consider that these men owned a total of ZERO career starts as a Bluejay entering this winter.

    Creighton has won 22 straight games when five or more players have 10 points or more.

Nembhard’s Big Day

Playing his first collegiate road game, freshman point guard Ryan Nembhard thrived in a hostile environment in Lincoln. The Canadian native had 22 points, five rebounds and five assists.

    Since Greg McDermott was hired in 2010, the only other Bluejays with a 20/5/5 game were Mitch Ballock (1), Marcus Foster (3), Grant Gibbs (1), Doug McDermott (2), Khyri Thomas (2), Maurice Watson Jr. (2) and Marcus Zegarowski (3).

    Nembhard is CU’s first freshman with a 20/5/5 line since at least 1981-82.

    Nembhard’s 22 points were the most by a Bluejay of any year in their first game vs. Nebraska since at least 1980.

Nembhard Earns All-Tourney Honors

Ryan Nembhard earned All-Tournament Team honors at the Paradise Jam after averaging 12.3 points, 4.7 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals in three games.

    Nembhard shot 55.6 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 60 percent from the line and made a shot at the buzzer vs. Southern Illinois in the third-place game.

    He is CU’s first true freshman to pick up All-Tournament Team honors at any event since Doug McDermott was named to the Global Sports Hy-Vee Challenge All-Tournament Team in 2010.

Hawk Talk

Ryan Hawkins finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists on Nov. 16 at Nebraska. It was just the fourth 15/10/5 game in Greg McDermott‘s 12 seasons at Creighton, and first since Khyri Thomas had 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a Nov. 15, 2017 Gavitt Tipoff Games win at Northwestern.

    The only others with a 15/10/5 game under McDermott were Austin Chatman (17 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists vs. Oklahoma on Nov. 19, 2014) and Doug McDermott (30 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists at Seton Hall on Jan. 4, 2014).

    Hawkins’s performance was CU’s first 15/10/5 line without a turnover since at least 1980-81.

Like A Hawk

Ryan Hawkins had 10 or more rebounds in each of CU’s first three games. He’s the first Bluejay to do that to start a season since Benoit Benjamin’s streak of 27 consecutive double-figure rebounding games to open his junior campaign in 1984-85.

    Hawkins owns 39 games with 10 or more rebounds in his college career, having done so most recently on Dec. 14 vs. Arizona State.

Winning With Defense

Creighton’s made its reputation on the offensive side with its “Let It Fly” philosophy, but the Bluejays have won thanks in large part to their defense so far this season.

    Creighton held each of its first four opponents under 40 percent from the field for the first time since at least 1980-81.

    Creighton is holding teams to 39.7 percent shooting this season, which would also be the program’s best mark in more than 40 years.

Playing With The Lead

In 314 games at CHI Health Center Omaha all-time, Creighton has not trailed in 85 of those contests, a staggering 27.1 percent of the time.

     Under Greg  McDermott  at  home,  Creighton  is  

161-38 and hasn’t trailed in 60 of those games. He owns an 91-8 record vs. non-conference teams at CHI Health Center Omaha.

Assists ‘R’ Us

Ryan Nembhard’s 10 assists in CU’s season-opener were the most by a Bluejay freshman in any game since Marcus Zegarowski had 10 on March 9, 2018 vs. DePaul. He was the nation’s ONLY freshman with 10+ assists on the opening night of the college basketball season.

    Prior to Nembhard, no Bluejay (of any year) had dished 10 or more assists in a season-opener since Edward St. Fleur on Nov. 22, 1996 at Wyoming.

Making An Entrance

Arthur Kaluma (15) and Ryan Nembhard (15) became CU’s first true freshmen to debut with 10 points or more since Khyri Thomas had 18 points vs. Texas Southern in 2015.

    Nembhard (15 pts., 10 ast.) and Ryan Hawkins  (16 pts., 11 reb.) were the first Bluejays since at least 1980 with double-doubles in the season-opener of their debut campaign. No CU player (of any year) had started the season with a double-double since Will Artino (14 pts., 10 reb.) in 2014-15 vs. Central Arkansas.

    Kaluma’s eight rebounds were the most by a true freshman in the regular-season opener since Martin Krampelj in 2015 and the most by any Bluejay freshman since redshirt freshman Justin Patton snared eight rebounds in his 2016 debut.

    Kaluma had four blocked shots on Nov. 9 vs. UAPB. The last previous Bluejay newcomer with multiple blocked shots in a season-opener? That’d be Artino on Nov. 11, 2011 vs. North Carolina A&T. Kaluma’s four swats were the most by any Bluejay (of any year) on Opening Day since Jeffrey Day had five swats vs. Alcorn State to open the 2004-05 campaign..

    Kaluma (15 & 8) became Creighton’s second freshman since at least 1973 to debut with 15+ points and 5+ rebounds, joining Doug McDermott (16 & 7) in 2010.

    Ryan Hawkins grabbed 11 rebounds vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the most by a Bluejay since Damien Jefferson had 12 in 2018. Other than Jefferson, no one’s had more than 11 rebounds in their CU debut since Cyril Baptiste snared 17 caroms in 1969.  When Hawkins followed with 10 rebounds vs. Kennesaw State, he became CU’s first player (of any year) with 10+ rebounds in CU’s first two games since Doug Swenson in 1998-99.

Freshman Starts Almost Unheard Of

Between 1992-93 and 2020-21, only four true freshmen started Creighton’s regular-season opener. Then on Nov. 9 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, both Ryan Nembhard and Arthur Kaluma got the nod on opening night. Nembhard had 15 points and 10 assists while Kaluma owned 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

    This season marked the first time Creighton started two true freshmen in a regular-season opener since 1991-92 (Eric Dantzler and Mike Amos).

    About the other true freshmen to start…

    Ryan Sears did so in 1997-98. The point guard would go on to start all 124 games of his CU career and remains the program’s all-time career assist (570) and steals (283) leader.

    Doug McDermott did so in 2010-11, and he went on to start all 145 games of his career. He would graduate as the fifth-leading scorer in NCAA history with 3,150 career points and is the only three-time First Team All-American since 1986. He now plays for the San Antonio Spurs.

    Khyri Thomas got a start in 2015-16 and remained in CU’s starting five each of his first 24 games, and 96-of-102 career contests with the Jays. He has spent parts of the past three seasons in the NBA.

    Shereef Mitchell joined this elite group in 2019-20 when he got the starting nod against Kennesaw State. Mitchell finished with eight points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals in 28 minutes of work.

Top-10 Class

Creighton signed four top-100 players en route to inking the No. 7 recruiting class in the country, per 247Sports. That also ranks as the best class in the BIG EAST Conference.

    Here’s how the nation’s top-10 classes shake out:

1.    Memphis

2.    Michigan

3.    Gonzaga

4.    Tennessee

5.    Duke

6.    LSU

7.    Creighton

8.    Florida State

9.    Connecticut

10.    Kentucky

Triple Trouble

During Creighton’s current streak of 924 straight games with a three-pointer, the Jays have drained 7,288 trifectas, an average of 7.89 treys per game.

    That’s not surprising since during the streak, Creighton has made exactly 7 three-pointers 139 times, more than any figure.

    Only five times in the streak has Creighton made just one three-pointer, but on 261 occasions the Bluejays have made 10 or more trifectas, including three games of 20 or more.

    Creighton has also made a trifecta in the first half of 295 straight games (since going 0-7 vs. Drake on Jan. 23, 2013). That streak was in serious jeopardy on Opening Day this season as CU missed its first 14 three-point tries before a man named Trey (Alexander) extended the streak.

    Since the start of the 2019-20 season, the Bluejays are 38-6 when making eight or more three-pointers, compared to a 14-12 mark when making seven treys or fewer.

Team 3FG Made During Creighton’s 3-Point Streak

1:    5 times    2:  15 times    3:  31 times

4:    71 times    5:   99 times    6:  99 times

7:   139 times    8:   116 times    9:  88 times

10:  77 times    11:  52 times    12:  49 times

13:  44 times    14: 18 times    15:  7 times

16:  7 times    17: 3 times    19:  1 time

20: 1 time    21:  1 time    22:  1 time

Release, Rotation, Splash, Repeat

Creighton has made at least one three-pointer in 924 straight games. The streak is the nation’s 14th-longest active streak.

    Creighton’s last game without a three-pointer came at Illinois State on Feb. 20, 1993, when the Jays were 0-for-5. Creighton’s last win without making a three-point basket came on March 3, 1991 when the Jays went 0-for-2 from three-point range in a 71-66 win over Southern Illinois in the championship game of the MVC Tournament.

    Below is a list of the nation’s longest active three-point streaks.

Longest Active 3-Point Streaks (12/14)

    Rk.    Streak    School    Next

    1.    1,140    UNLV    12/15

    2.    1,122    Duke    12/16

    3.    1,085    Arkansas    12/18

    4.    1,073    Western Kentucky    12/18

    5.    1,062    East Tennessee State    12/18

    6.    1,040    Oakland    12/21

    7.    1,041    Pacific    12/17

    8.    1,032    Texas    12/19

    9.    979    Marshall    12/15

    10.    971    Baylor    12/18

    11.    969    Princeton    12/21

    12.    960    Gonzaga    12/18

    13.    935    Long Island    12/19

    14.    924    Creighton    12/17

    15.    922    Mount St. Mary’s    12/18

    16.    907    Tennessee State    12/16

My Name Is…

Only five men who played for Creighton last season are back this winter, and none of them averaged more than 15 minutes per game.

    Per research by TCU, Creighton’s 18.0 percent of minutes returning ranks third-lowest among all teams nationally, and is the least among all teams from the BIG EAST or a Power 5 Conference.

Lowest Percentage of Minutes Returning

School    Pct. of Minutes Returning

Tennessee-Martin      0.0

Portland      8.5

Creighton    18.0

Missouri    19.7

Duquesne    23.2

Iowa State    25.1

Robert Morris    26.3

Boston College    27.6

South Alabama    28.6

TCU    29.2

Who’s Back?

With Creighton returning only five of the 15 men who appeared in a game last season, it’s no surprise that much of the production from 2020-21 is also gone. Below is a breakdown of what is back:

Stat    Returners    Departures

Starts    2 (1.3%)    153 (98.7%)

3FG Made    25 (8.5%)    268 (91.5%)

Assists    68 (14.0%)    417 (86.0%)

Points    371 (15.8%)    1,984 (84.2%)

Minutes    1,124 (18.0%)    5,126 (82.0%)

Steals    39 (18.1%)    177 (81.9%)

Rebounds    207 (20.7%)    794 (79.3%)

Charges Taken    5 (29.4%)    12 (70.6%)

Blocks    39 (37.9%)    64 (62.1%)

Among The Nation’s Best

Below is where Creighton ranks nationally since the start of the 2010-11 season, per Basketball-Reference.com.

2010-11 through Dec. 14, 2021

Category    CU Stat    CU Rank    VU Rank

3FG Made    3,456    2nd    4th

3FG Percentage    .381    3rd    48th

FG Percentage    .480    3rd    49th

Assists    6,270    5th    21st

FG Made    10,646    8th    29th

Points    29,821    8th    12th

Wins    261    27th    8th

Winning Percentage    .671    31st    7th

Who Are These Guys?

For the first time since at least 1980-81, Creighton will not return any of its five starters as Mitch Ballock, Christian Bishop, Damien Jefferson, Denzel Mahoney and Marcus Zegarowski are all gone after combining to make 152-of-155 possible starts last season.

    In fact, there’s only been four previous times in the last 40 years that just one starter has returned. Those four occurrences came in 1985-86 (went 12-16), 2007-08 (22-11), 2014-15 (14-19) and

2015-16 (20-15).

    Shereef Mitchell started two games last season when Zegarowski was injured, and no other active Bluejay had ever started a game for CU prior to CU’s Nov. 9 season-opener. In the previous 40 seasons, Creighton’s always returned players who combined for at least 40 starts in the previous season.

    Returning    Returning Starts     Final

Year    Starters    From Previous Year    W-L

2021-22    0    2    ? ? ?

2020-21    5    124    22-9

2019-20    4    136    24-7

2018-19    2    57    20-15

2017-18    2    72    21-12

2016-17    4    130    25-10

2015-16    1    64    20-15

2014-15    1    49    14-19

2013-14    4    144    27-8

2012-13    4    140    28-8

2011-12    3    101    29-6

2010-11    4    123    23-16

2009-10    3    106    18-16

2008-09    3    83    27-8

2007-08    1    44    22-11

2006-07    4    120    22-11

2005-06    4    134    20-10

2004-05    2    58    23-11

2003-04    3    101    20-9

2002-03    5    159    29-5

2001-02    2    65    23-9

2000-01    3    90    24-8

1999-00    3    84    23-10

1998-99    3    84    22-9

1997-98    4    72    18-10

1996-97    4    126    15-15

1995-96    4    100    14-15

1994-95    2    52    7-19

1993-94    3    73    7-22

1992-93    2    64    8-18

1991-92    2    51    9-19

1990-91    4    132    24-8

1989-90    4    127    21-12

1988-89    4    123    20-11

1987-88    3    83    16-16

1986-87    2    65    9-19

1985-86    1    48    12-16

1984-85    4    124    20-12

1983-84    3    72    17-14

1982-83    3    77    8-19

1981-82    2    78    7-20

1980-81    4    112    21-9

#ProJays

Former Creighton All-American Doug McDermott is a starter for the San Antonio Spurs, giving Creighton at least one NBA player in 38 of the last 39 seasons.

    Last year five Bluejays appeared in an NBA game, as McDermott was joined by Ty-Shon Alexander, Justin Patton, Khyri Thomas and Anthony Tolliver.

    McDermott is in his eighth season in the NBA. Last year he with Indiana he averaged a career-high 13.6 points per game.

    Other famous Bluejays to play in the NBA in the past include Paul Silas, Kyle Korver, Benoit Benjamin and Anthony Tolliver.

21 of 23 Seasons With 20 Wins

Creighton has won 20 or more games in 21 of the last 23 seasons (entering 2021-22), a feat that puts the Jays among an exclusive group, nationally.

    Just two schools have had 20 or more wins each of the last 23 years: Gonzaga and Kansas. Duke has done it 22 times, Creighton and Kentucky 21 times.

Most 20-Win Seasons, Previous 23 Seasons

Team    20-Win Seasons    2020-21 W-L    

Gonzaga    23    31-1    

Kansas    23    21-9    

Duke    22    13-11    

Creighton    21    22-9    

Kentucky    21    9-16    

In Search Of 20 Wins, Again

Creighton had 22 wins last season, its sixth consecutive campaign with 20 or more victories.

    Only six teams have won 20 games or more in each of the previous six seasons: Belmont, Creighton, Gonzaga, Houston, Kansas and Oregon.

McDermott Ranks Second On CU Wins List

Greg McDermott has 261 victories at Creighton, good for second place on CU’s all-time wins list.

    McDermott’s .671 winning percentage is Creighton’s best since Arthur A. Schabinger’s .714 win rate more 80 years ago.

    Below is a list of the most victorious Creighton coaches in program history.

Most Coaching Wins, Creighton History

Rk.    W-L    Name    Years

1.    327-176    Dana Altman    1994-2010

2.    261-128    Greg McDermott    2010-Pres.

3.    165-66    Arthur A. Schabinger     1922-1935

4.    138-118    John J. “Red” McManus     1959-1969

5.    130-64    Tom Apke    1974-1981

CHI Health Center Omaha Dramatics

Creighton is 8-8 in games with a game-winning go-ahead score in the final 10 seconds at CHI Health Center Omaha, which opened in the fall of 2003.

Creighton’s Go-Ahead Scores in Wins at

CHI Health Center Omaha, Last 10 Seconds

Date    Opponent    Score    Player/Score    Time

11/26/05    Dayton    W 91-90*    Funk FG    :5.7

01/28/06    Wichita St.    W 57-55    Tolliver FG    :0.0

11/25/06    George Mason    W 58-56    Watts FT    :7.5

03/18/08    Rhode Island    W 74-73    Witter 3FG    :3.2

01/13/10    Southern Illinois    W 71-69    Young FG    :1.3

02/18/12    Long Beach St.    W 81-79    Young FG    :0.3

01/28/14    St. John’s    W 63-60    McDermott 3FG    :2.8

01/18/20    Providence    W 78-74    Zegarowski 3FG    :3.2

*double-overtime

Opponent Go-Ahead Scores in CU Losses at

CHI Health Center Omaha, Last 10 Seconds

Date    Opponent    Score    Player/Score    Time

03/20/06    Miami (Fla.)    L 53-52    G. Diaz FT    :2.6

01/20/07    Southern Illinois    L 58-57    B. Mullins FG    :4.1

01/10/15    #19 Seton Hall    L 68-67    S. Gibbs 3FG    :2.2

02/16/15    #19 Butler    L 58-56    R. Jones FG    :1.9

03/07/15    Xavier    L 74-73    D. Davis FT’s    :6.3

01/12/16    #12 Providence    L 50-48    K. Dunn FG    :0.0

02/22/17    Providence    L 68-66    K. Cartwright 3FG    :2.4

02/10/18    #5 Xavier    L 71-72    Q. Goodin FT’s    :0.3

Top-20 Crowds

Here’s a look at Creighton’s top-20 home crowds all-time.

      Rank    Att.    Opponent    Date

    1.    18,868    Providence    03/08/14

    2.    18,859    Georgetown    01/25/14

    3.    18,831    #1 Villanova    12/31/16

    4.    18,797    #6 Villanova    02/16/14

    5.    18,759    #1 Gonzaga    12/01/18

    6.    18,742    Seton Hall    02/23/14

    7.    18,735    Wichita State    02/11/12

    8.    18,613    Wichita State    03/02/13

    9.    18,525    Marquette    12/31/13

    10.    18,519    #8 Seton Hall    03/07/20

    11.    18,518    Georgetown    01/27/18

    12.    18,495    Marquette    02/17/18

    13.    18,494    Illinois State    02/09/13

    14.    18,458    Evansville    12/29/12

    15.    18,436    Bradley    01/28/12

    16.    18,323    DePaul    02/07/14

    17.    18,321    #3 Villanova    02/24/18

    18.    18,294    #19 Iowa State    12/04/21

    19.    18,257    #5 Xavier    02/10/18

    20.    18,191    DePaul    02/27/18

Firing On All Cylinders

Creighton continued to be highly regarded by KenPom.com, and finished last season 22nd. That included the nation’s No. 25 offense, and No. 32 defense.

    Creighton had not finished with a top-35 defense since 2006-07, and has not finished better than 30th since 2001-02.

    Last  season was the sixth different time in the last 10 seasons that Creighton has had a top-25 offense per KenPom.

Year    Off. Rating    Def. Rating    Team W-L

2010-11    66    174    23-16

2011-12    5    166    29-6

2012-13    5    66    28-8

2013-14    2    124    27-8

2014-15    59    138    14-19

2015-16    43    76    20-15

2016-17    32    46    25-10

2017-18    25    58    21-12

2018-19    47    83    20-15

2019-20    3    78    24-7

2020-21    25    32    22-9

2021-22    74    73    8-3 so far

CHI Health Center Omaha Success

Creighton has played 314 regular and postseason contests at CHI Health Center Omaha all-time in the 19-year-old facility.

    The Bluejays own a 258-56 (.822) record all-time at the facility, and have never lost there on a Friday (21-0).

    Creighton’s Nov. 25, 2017 win over SIU Edwardsville was the program’s 200th at the facility, coming in its 242nd home game. CU’s 100th win came on Nov. 17, 2010, a 63-58 win over Louisiana.

    Creighton has outscored its opponents 24,590-20,607 in games at CHI Health Center Omaha, an average margin of 12.68 points per game. Creighton has not trailed 85 different times.

    Creighton is also 31-33 all-time in the 63 games at the arena in which it’s fallen behind by double-figures at any point, 8-11 when down by 10+ points at halftime in the facility, and 38-27 when trailing at halftime at CHI Health Center Omaha.

    Creighton is 161-38 (.813) at CHI Health Center Omaha under Greg McDermott and hasn’t trailed in 60 of those games. In that same span, CU owns an 91-8 home record vs. non-conference teams.

    Factor in a 17-0 home mark at the Omaha Civic Auditorium in 2002-03 and two wins at the Civic in the 2010 CIT, and the Bluejays are 277-56 (.832) at home since the start of the 2002-03 campaign.

 

Home Run

Since the start of the 2010-11 season, Creighton is averaging 80.88 points per home game (16,096 points in 199 home games), a figure that climbs to 84.08 points in non-conference home games (8,324 points in 99 home games).

    Creighton is 124-6 all-time at CHI Health Center Omaha when scoring 80 or points.

Ticket Information

Single-game tickets for the 2021-22 season went on sale on October 18th.

    Fans can purchase single-game tickets at CHI Health Center Omaha Box Office, Ryan Athletic Center, by calling Ticketmaster or visiting Ticketmaster.com, and charging by phone at (800) 745-3000.

    For more information, call the Creighton Ticket Office at (402) 280-JAYS.

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