Houston Baptist loses 97-62 to No. 25 Creighton

It took Houston Baptist almost six minutes to score its first

field goal against No. 25 Creighton and about just as long to score

its second.

By then the Huskies were down by 20 points and on their way to a

97-62 loss on Saturday night.

Art Bernardi and reserve Anthony Hill each had 16 points to lead

Houston Baptist, which was playing a ranked opponent for the first

time since facing then-No. 15 Michigan in November 2009. Hill had

11 points in the first half.

”Those guys came prepared for us. They’re just real strong,”

Huskies coach Ron Cottrell said. ”We had no matchups that went our

way, and it snowballed as the night went on. If not for Anthony

Hill in the first half, that game could have been real, real


Doug McDermott scored 25 points and Gregory Echenique had 18

points and 14 rebounds to help the Bluejays of the Missouri Valley

Conference overpower the Huskies (4-7).

Houston Baptist typically draws fewer than 1,000 fans to its

home games, and the biggest crowd the Huskies had played in front

of previously this season was 9,273 at Washington. Saturday’s crowd

was 16,513, and Cottrell said it was a factor.

”We had three freshmen on the court quite often, and they might

have felt uncomfortable,” he said. ”We didn’t get off to a good

start. When that happens, they start questioning themselves and

revert back to high school stuff.”

Creighton was up 12-1 before Houston Baptist made its first

field goal after 10 straight misses. When the Huskies hit their

second, they were down 28-8.

McDermott, who came in as the nation’s No. 2 scorer at 24 points

a game, had his eighth straight 20-point game for the Bluejays


But Echenique was an even bigger problem for the Huskies (4-7).

The 6-foot-9, 270-pounder needed only 15 minutes to record his

first double-double of the season. Echenique also blocked five

shots and threw down two big dunks.

Echenique said he was motivated to put behind him a poor

performance in a loss at St. Joseph’s a week earlier.

”You can always push yourself more,” Echenique said. ”When

you win, you get used to it, and sometimes you forget that you can

do more. Losing was like a shock. It was a wakeup call, and we had

to go back to work.”

Creighton coach Greg McDermott said the way Echenique played

against Houston Baptist was the way he should have been performing

all season. Echenique had 10 points and five rebounds in the loss

at St. Joseph’s.

”I was really hard on him for a couple days, just on his effort

and concentration and his ability to impact the game more than he

was impacting the game,” Greg McDermott said. ”He got some extra

work in with my coaching staff, just keeping the ball a little

higher, being more aggressive and using his lower body. He brought

what he had done on the practice floor onto the game floor tonight,

and that was very encouraging to see.”

Creighton went on two 10-0 runs and led by as many as 29 points

while building a 46-23 halftime lead. The Bluejays opened the

second half on a 12-2 run and led by 39 points with 10 minutes


The Bluejays clamped down on the Huskies, who were scoring 77

points a game and had five players averaging in double figures.

”The most encouraging thing from my perspective was

defensively,” Greg McDermott said. ”Houston Baptist, the one

thing they had done consistently all year was score points. They

scored on three out of 20 possessions to start the game and three

of 14 to start the second half. The message we attempted to send in

practice was heard loud and clear, and I thought we competed a

little harder.”

The Bluejays held a 52-34 rebounding advantage and limited the

Huskies to 36-percent shooting.

”When we were out at St. Joe’s, we didn’t have the defensive

efficiency we’re capable of,” Ethan Wragge said. ”We really

focused on that in practice this week, and wanted to come out early

and set the tone. Our first five did a good job of that.”