|Creighton looks to stay hot against Kennesaw State|
Through two games it's been so far, so good for No. 9 Creighton.
The Bluejays have done what they're supposed to do against North Dakota State and crosstown foe Nebraska-Omaha -- they won big and left no doubt.
Another one of those games is on the card for Friday when Creighton hosts Kennesaw State in Omaha.
Creighton put six players in double figures Tuesday during its 94-67 rout of Omaha, led by an 11-point, 11-assist double-double from Big East Preseason Player of the Year Marcus Zegarowski.
Christian Bishop's 18 points were one shy of a career high, and Denzel Mahoney tied a career best with five 3-pointers on his way to 17 points.
"Our goal today was to be better than we were on Sunday and I thought that was the case, especially defensively," said Bluejays coach Greg McDermott. "Everyone made a nice step forward today, and I hope we can keep making improvements between now and Friday."
While two games are a small sample size, they illustrated that Creighton might be better athletically than the casual fan believes. The Bluejays might not force a bunch of turnovers -- just six on Tuesday -- but they stay in front of the ball and usually make opponents take contested shots. Omaha hit just 26 of 73 from the field and managed just nine offensive rebounds.
Once in possession, Creighton created enough transition chances to ring up 22 fast-break points, something you don't do without athletic ability and good floor balance.
Facing the Bluejays will be quite a challenge for rebuilding Kennesaw State (2-1), which has already won more games this season than it did during a 1-28 2019-20 campaign. The Owls opened with lopsided wins over non-Division I programs Carver and Toccoa Falls before eating a 73-48 loss Tuesday night at UAB.
A 19-0 run late in the first half buried Kennesaw State, which trailed 43-22 at the half and was never seriously in contention after that. Turnovers were the major issue, as it committed 19 that the Blazers cashed in for 22 points.
"Tonight was a good test and lesson for us as a young team on the road for the first time," said Owls coach Amir Abdur-Rahim. "We splintered in the first half, which allowed them to build a comfortable lead. We need to be stronger with the ball and share it better."
Spencer Rodgers has paced Kennesaw State's offense with 17 points per game on 60 percent shooting from the field, including 9 of 18 on 3-pointers. Chris Youngblood has 12.7 points per game, canning 8 of 20 from behind the arc.
The teams opened the season against each other last November in Omaha, with Creighton claiming an 81-55 decision.
--Field Level Media