Creighton-Missouri St. Preview

BY foxsports • January 17, 2012

Creighton coach Greg McDermott's plan was to celebrate his son's milestone then quickly get his team refocused for its next game. That might not prove much of a problem.

The 19th-ranked Bluejays should have plenty of motivation for Wednesday night's visit to Missouri State, the only team to beat them in Missouri Valley play this season.

McDermott got the joy of watching his son and leading scorer, Doug McDermott, score his 1,000th point in a 90-71 victory over Southern Illinois on Sunday.

McDermott - among the nation's scoring leaders at 24.3 points per game - finished with 25 against the Salukis, giving him 1,018 in 57 collegiate games. He also grabbed 11 rebounds in his team's sixth straight win.

"He's done some special things,'' Greg McDermott said. "He's playing with unselfish guys who know his capabilities. It's a neat milestone - one we'll celebrate briefly and then go on to the next one."

Moving on means preparing for a trip to Missouri State, which dealt then-No. 21 Creighton a 77-65 home loss Dec. 28. Doug McDermott had 19 points and a season high-tying 12 rebounds in that game but was held to one point in the final 10 minutes.

The Bluejays (16-2, 6-1) shot a season-low 38.2 percent during their sixth consecutive defeat in the series.

"I think we've gotten a lot tougher (since the loss)," the sophomore forward said. "I think that game was kind of a wake-up call for us. ... We know we have a target on our backs every night. (Missouri State is) going to be a really hungry team so we have to bring our all."

Like the rest of the conference, both teams will get the benefit of some rest after playing four games in nine days. The Bears (11-8, 4-3) didn't fare as well over that hectic stretch losing each of their final two contests by close margins.

After falling in the final seconds at Northern Iowa on Friday, Missouri State blew a five-point lead in the final 39 seconds of regulation at home to Evansville on Sunday before losing 87-82 in overtime.

Senior forward Kyle Weems, averaging a team-best 16.1 points and 7.5 rebounds, scored 17 points during that loss for his 18th consecutive game in double figures.

Weems had 25 of a career-high 31 points in the second half during the win over Creighton. Anthony Downing, a transfer from Independence (Kan.) Community College, also had a career high with 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting.

The win was Missouri State's second in its last three road games against a ranked team and dropped the Bluejays out of the AP poll for one week. The Bears, the defending MVC champs, beat then-No. 20 Drake 86-83 during their previous visit from a Top 25 opponent on Feb. 26, 2008.

Creighton, 6-1 on the road this season, leads the all-time series 30-28, but has lost three straight and 18 of 25 at Missouri State. Bluejays junior center Gregory Echenique will try to help his team break that losing streak in Springfield with his fifth straight double-digit rebounding performance.


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