George Washington-Creighton Preview
Creighton expects to take away plenty from its first defeat of the season.
The No. 20 Bluejays look to bounce back Sunday against George Washington in the third-place game of the Wooden Legacy in Anaheim.
Creighton (5-1) opened with a 19-7 run Friday before San Diego State stormed back with a 31-9 spurt of its own to take a 10-point lead into halftime. The Bluejays shot 52.8 percent in the second half to fight back from a 19-point deficit but fell 86-80 in the tournament semifinals.
"I think it'll teach us a lot," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "There will be some things we learn, like which guys, which lineup will be most effective against some of the defenses that we're seeing."
Among the national leaders averaging 27.8 points and shooting 54.3 percent, Creighton star Doug McDermott went 11 of 18 from the field to finish with 30 points.
Both McDermotts agree that San Diego State was the most physical and well-rounded team the Bluejays have faced through the first few weeks of the season. Creighton's 48.4-percent effort was the first time it shot below 51.5 from field.
"Our offense was stagnant at times," Doug McDermott said. "We have to do a better job moving at times."
The Aztecs' 37-29 advantage on the glass marked the second straight game the Bluejays have been outrebounded. Creighton also made seven of a season-low 11 free throws, while SDSU went 26 of 31 from the line.
"We're gonna face a lot of teams like that in the Big East, so it was great to see a team like that," Doug McDermott said.
"We came up short, but I'm happy with the way we bounced back. We were down 19 points at one point in the second half and we brought back within three. I'm proud of the way we fought back, it was a great learning lesson for us."
Creighton hopes to put those lessons to use in its first meeting with George Washington (5-1), which fell 76-60 to No. 25 Marquette in Friday's other semifinal.
The Colonials averaged 85.8 points and shot 52.1 percent while starting 5-0 for the first time since 2005-06, but they were held to 33.3 percent, including 4 of 19 from 3-point range, by the Golden Eagles. Kethan Savage had 16 points and Maurice Creek added 14 for George Washington, which succumbed to an early 12-2 run and trailed by 21 at halftime.
While Colonials coach Mike Lonergan also expects his squad to learn from the defeat, he's eager to see how his team fares against a second straight ranked opponent.
George Washington has dropped 15 straight games against Top 25 teams since winning 78-70 over then-No. 21 Maryland on Dec. 5, 2005.
"We're excited about playing good teams," Lonergan said. "That's why we entered this tournament. I'd rather be playing for third place than eighth place, so we have a lot to play for."
Creek, who spent his first three seasons at Indiana, went 13 of 20 from 3-point range while averaging 19.0 points in the previous three games before totaling 29 and shooting 4 of 17 from beyond the arc versus Miami and Marquette in this event.