OMAHA, Neb. - A red-hot shooting performance helped No. 13 Creighton cruise past the Drake University men’s basketball team by a 91-61 margin Tuesday night at the CenturyLink Center.
The Bulldogs were led by Joey King (Eagan, Minn.) with 17 points off of the bench. All five of the freshman’s made shots were from three-point distance for his third highest point total of the season. Creighton had four players in double figures with Ethan Wragge leading all scorers with 22 points.
With the win, the preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Bluejays move to 15-1 on the season and 4-0 in conference play. The Bulldogs fall to 6-9 on the season, 0-4 in MVC play.
“We clearly ran into a buzzsaw of a basketball team tonight,” Drake head coach Mark Phelps said. “They have been playing well and certainly played very well tonight, so give them credit.”
The MVC-leading Bluejays shot 64 percent from the field on the night, including 16 three-pointers. The Bulldogs were unable to get many open shots and converted on 35 percent from the field (21-of-59) and 32 percent from three (9-of-28). The squad struggled early, scoring nine points in the first 10 minutes of the contest.
“The fast start certainly put us on our heels,” Phelps said. “We couldn’t, over the course of the game, recover from that. They were hitting three-pointers at a great pace.”
The Bluejays came out gunning with three-pointers by Grant Gibbs, Doug McDermott and Jahenns Manigat to give Creighton an 11-2 lead. Before the Bulldogs were able to gather their bearings, the hosts had jumped out to a 21-point lead, 30-9, 10 minutes into the game. The Bluejays had 28 assists on their 34 baskets.
King, who was coming off of a career-high 21 points last Saturday, led Drake’s bench which scored 31 of the teams points with five points from junior Richard Carter (Detroit, Mich.) and five from sophomore Jeremy Jeffers (Wilson, N.C.).
Senior Jordan Clarke (Rockville, Md.) got out of a scoring slump to drop 11 points on three of six shooting and five free throws. Freshman Micah Mason (Allegheny, Pa.) made 3-of-4 from the arc and scored 11 points while adding four assists.
Creighton shot a blistering 67 percent from the field on 19-of-28 shooting in the first half and made 9-of-13 three-pointers (69 percent).
Wragge came off of the bench and hit three three-pointers, two off assists from McDermott and scored 11 points in the half. Creighton also dominated the rebounding, grabbing 24 to Drake’s nine to open the game.
King and Mason hit back-to-back three-pointers to open the second half and give the Bulldogs some momentum. The squad then settled into a zone defense that slowed the Bluejays, but was unable to produce enough stops as Creighton was still able to hit 60 percent from the field and 50 percent from the arc in the half.
“Clearly the zone slowed them down,” Phelps said. “Clearly they were in an unbelievable groove tonight and I felt the zone slowed them down and at least made them work more.”
The Bulldogs aim to move into the win column in MVC play when they visit Illinois State Saturday, Jan. 12. The Redbirds are also winless in conference play. The game is scheduled to tipoff at 7 p.m. CST.