Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - The 14th-ranked Creighton Bluejays and
Wisconsin Badgers will close out first-round action of the Las Vegas
Invitational, when the two teams meet up at the Orleans Arena Friday evening.
Greg McDermott's third season at the helm at Creighton couldn't have started
any better, as his Bluejays have opened the year with four wins in as many
games. Creighton has not just won the four games, but has destroyed the
competition along the way, with routs of North Texas, UAB, Presbyterian and
most recently, Longwood (105-57) all in Omaha.
Bo Ryan's Badgers have opened their season with three wins in the first four
games. The three wins have all come in the friendly confines of the Kohl
Center, while the lone loss was at Florida. Since the loss to the Gators,
Wisconsin has recorded lopsided wins over Cornell (73-40) and Presbyterian
Wisconsin won the only other meeting between these two teams, but that was
back in 1949 (75-39).
Creighton has the luxury of housing the only returning consensus All-American
in the form of Doug McDermott. The coach's son is at it again this year,
shooting a strong .564 from the floor and leading the team in scoring at 16.8
ppg. The 6-8 junior is also second on the team in rebounding, pulling down 7.5
rpg. Scoring depth comes from Ethan Wragge (11.8 ppg) and Greg Echenique (11.3
ppg). The competition may have something to do with it, but Creighton's
numbers at both ends of the court are pretty impressive. The team is enjoying
an inflated +28.5 scoring margin, averaging 85.0 ppg, while allowing a mere
56.5. The Bluejays are shooting a scorching .570 from the field, including
just over 40 percent from behind the arc (34-of-84).
The Bluejays ran out to a 37-15 lead three quarters of the way through the
first half and never looked back, cruising to a 48-point romp of the Lancers
last time out. McDermott and Echenique led the team with 17 points each.
Wragge and Will Artino added 13 points apiece, as Creighton shot a sizzling
.648 from the floor. The team as a whole recorded 27 assists, while scoring
over 50 points in each half.
With Wisconsin, it is more about defensive tenacity than gaudy offensive
numbers under Bo Ryan. However, in the early stages of the season, the Badgers
have displayed both. The team is shooting a respectable .452 from the floor en
route to 76.0 ppg, while holding foes to just 51.0 ppg, on .383 shooting.
Junior guard Ben Brust may be just 6-foot-1, but he has recorded a double-
double in three of the first four games and leads the team in both scoring
(14.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.3 rpg). Jared Berggren is next in line in both
categories (13.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg), while freshman Sam Dekker (10.5 ppg) has been
a valuable asset off the bench.
Brust was at it once again against Presbyterian last time out, leading the way
with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Dekker poured in 16 points in just 15 minutes
of work, while George Marshall finished with 12 points. Wisconsin was able to
shoot 52.4 percent from the floor for the game, including an impressive 58.1
percent in the second half. Wisconsin drained 16 3-pointers in the game,
including 10 in the second half.
The Sports Network