As the Creighton game started against Arkansas-Little Rock, I was somewhat encouraged. The Jack Stevens Center wasn’t packed, the Jays were hitting shots early and the Trojans looked like they were out of sync. Even the UALR coach was T’d up before it was even half way through the first half. Next thing you know the Jays were up 16 points and well on their way to establishing themselves and running Arkansas-Little Rock out of the gym. In my mind the magic number was 70. If the Jays could get to 70, they would get a win and they were well on their way.
Then reality came in and I saw how sloppy things were and how the Jays were missing rebounds and the Trojans picked away at the lead eventually taking the lead late in the second half and winning on a somehwat dramatic finish 71-69.
Getting out-rebounded by 20 (46-26) on the road will not win you any games. Kenny Lawson played a great game tonight…for 14 minutes. The other 14 he was non-existant and was getting pushed out by UALR’s Mike Smith. Smith turned it on in the second half, was a monster in the paint and got the key rebound at the end to score the winning basket. Rebounding was the key word used over and over by Dana Altman the first three games of the season and it bit Creighton back. There were so many open layups and baskets from Arkansas-Little Rock in the lane it was ridiculous.
Then you have Matt Mouzy, who once he got his shorts on the right way (yes, he had his shorts on backwards in the first half) hit some key 3 pointers in the second half to chip away at Creighton’s lead. Then you add up the ratcheted defense and the crowd that was there into the game it it spelled doom for Creighton.
While everyone was worried whether Justin Carter would even play tonight, no one probably expected to hear that P’Allen Stinnett wasn’t starting the game this evening because he was “not upholding certain standards between him and coach.” P’Allen did come in off the bench, but was off all night missing shots (2-10) and not finishing hard to the basket and just an overall bad game. Hopefully this incident is a one time thing and will go away. The Jays had enough adversity to fight through this evening and didn’t need this added in. The distractions like these are not needed. P’Allen has been talking the talk about the way he handles himself now and how this team is his team. Be a leader and help the team succeed.
Cavel Witter and Booker Woodfox kept the Jays in the game, however they both had turnover bugs (5 and 3 respectively). Josh Dotzler played his part getting 5 steals and 5 assists. One surprise to me was that Kaleb Korver did not get in the game at all in the second half and Casey Harriman had some really limited minutes. I thought Kaleb did some great things in the first half and also was not afraid to shoot the ball tonight hitting 2 big 3 pointers to extend the Jays lead in the first half. Then Kenton Walker couldn’t get on the court. With the rebound disparity that there was occuring, I was surprised there wasn’t more of an attempt to get Walker and Millard more minutes to try and fight for rebounds to try and compete with UALR’s Mike Smith
Creighton now takes the long trip back to Nebraska (ok, not that long, but losing makes it feel long) to prepare for the game against in-state rival Nebraska who won tonight against a Jays potential opponent St. Louis 71-57. If Creighton wants to get a win in Lincoln this weekend, the team needs to rebound the basketball. However, the experience tonight is something to build on and an opportunity to come back fighting. Well, time to celebrate Turkey Day.