Saint Joseph's-Creighton Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 30, 2012
Creighton certainly must have redemption on its mind going into Saturday. Coming off a shocking loss which ruined their perfect record, the No. 11 Bluejays look to avoid falling for the second straight year to a Saint Joseph's team which could enter the rankings with another upset win. Creighton (6-1) is 28-3 in Omaha since last being handed back-to-back home losses, something it may be in danger of suffering again this week. Following impressive victories over Wisconsin and Arizona State to win the Las Vegas Invitational, the Bluejays returned home Wednesday to face a Boise State team which hadn't beaten a ranked foe on the road since 2005. The Broncos never trailed after the opening minutes and won 83-70. "I think we celebrated too much, those wins, and I think it got to us a little and we kind of went away from how we prepare as a team," star forward Doug McDermott said. "We have to do a better job of moving on to the next game." The next one is against the school which handed McDermott's squad its first loss last season. Creighton was 7-0 and ranked 19th heading into a game at Saint Joseph's and lost 80-71 despite McDermott's 26 points and 10 rebounds. McDermott, a junior averaging 21.0 points, had the only scoreless game of his career when the Hawks last came to town Dec. 11, 2010, but Creighton won 82-75. Saint Joseph's is facing the Bluejays for the fifth time in six years and leads the all-time series 5-4. This Creighton team is among the national leaders in field-goal shooting at 52.6 percent while averaging 83.0 points. The Hawks (4-1), meanwhile, have held all but one of their opponents below 40.0 percent from the floor and 70 points in regulation. The only time they didn't came in a 73-66 loss to Florida State in the Coaches vs. Cancer title game Nov. 17, a day after they limited then-No. 20 Notre Dame to 39.1 percent in a 79-70 overtime win. Another victory over a Top 25 team might push Saint Joseph's into the next AP poll after receiving nine votes this week. "We just gotta go out there and play tough defense," guard Langston Galloway told the Hawks' official website. "(The Bluejays) execute what their gameplan is. We just gotta go out there and play hard and leave it all on the court." Galloway surpassed 1,000 career points with 18 in a 74-55 win over American University on Wednesday. He's averaging 13.4 this season and scored 12 last year against Creighton, but the key to that victory was Carl Jones' 29 points. Jones got his first start of the season Wednesday after coming off the bench for two games following a two-game suspension for a violation of community standards. The senior guard is averaging a team-leading 17.7 points and has made 11 of 22 from 3-point range. Hawks starting forward Halil Kanacevic, averaging 10.3 points and 7.0 rebounds, is expected to return after missing one game for a back strain. He grabbed 12 boards last year as Saint Joseph's outrebounded the Bluejays 40-28. Creighton's Ethan Wragge went scoreless in 17 minutes that day but had a career-high 22 points against the Hawks in 2010. He's the only Bluejays player besides McDermott averaging in double figures at 11.4, but he had a season-worst three points Wednesday.
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