Tuesday, January 20th , 6PM
Radio: Big Sports 590 AM or Bigsports590.com
TV: ESPNU (Cox Ch. 220 in Omaha)
After the let down in Wichita, the Jays try to regroup and salvage a road trip with a visit to Evansville. Here is what you need to know about the Purple Aces:
- Evansville is log jammed with Creighton with 4-3 conference records.
- The Purple Aces have had all of their conference games decided within 11 points or less except for one game.
- Shy Ely leads the team in scoring and last season just destroyed Creighton in the game at Evansville.
- The Valley’s current scoring leader Jason Holsinger plays for the Aces and is just a shooter that is not afraid to shoot from anywhere.
- Evansville is the home of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a men’s music fraternity
Let’s face it. Creighton players need to understand that when it comes to conference play, every team in the conference pegs the Bluejays with a big target on their back whether they are having a successful season or not. The game at Indiana St. was $3 tickets. Saturday night it was the Black Out at Wichita St. Tuesday night it is Evansville trying to pack as many people as they can in Roberts Stadium (11-1 at home by the way) by offering $5 seats and $1 popcorn, $1 hot dogs and $1 Pepsi’s. What a deal. Jaybackers can’t even get popcorn for free anymore much less for $1. If I am Evansville fan, I pack the family of 15 and head to the game for a good night of basketball and cheap food.
There just isn’t an easy game for Creighton, much less on the road in conference play. It is time for the players to recognize this and embrace the adversity that is put in front of them. That did not happen at Wichita St. Saturday night but hopefully it will here on Tuesday.
Last season, Shy Ely sliced and diced the Jays with a career high 28 points. He has been one of the leaders of the team and with the relatively “soft” frontline for the Jays, he may do the same again.
But frankly, I get concerned about Jason Holsinger. This guy seems like he has been there for at least 7 years, but just loves to shoot. There have been some key shots he has hit against the Jays in his career and he will be the difference maker in this game. Sure let Ely have his points, but if Holsinger gets hot, the rest of the team gets hot behind him and another MVC team will have a record shooting night against the Jays.
At some point, you wonder if a lineup change is in store for the Jays basketball team. Yes, there have been some different starting lineups due to injury and “suspensions” but nothing based on perceived performance. I don’t have a problem with Josh Dotzler starting. He has been solid and has tried to even score a little more because of the stagnant offense. Booker Woodfox brings it every game whether his ankle is killing him or not. Justin Carter has been pretty consistent on the boards. Kenny Lawson–though inconsistent, he is still a big guy that is needed on the floor. No, who I am calling out is P’Allen Stinnett.
Yes he is probably the best player and yes, he has shown signs of leadership. But what I can’t stand is watching players play when they want and not give their all 100% of the time, especially ones that are supposed to be leaders and big contributors. I have been pretty positive about P’Allen this season and I keep waiting for him to have a string of consistency. However, P seems to disappear at times that just surprise me. After the SIU game last week, I thought he turned the corner to carry this team on his shoulders and get this team pumped up. However, once again on the road, P’Allen disappeared in the Wichita St. game and had 21 minutes of almost insignificance.
In the games that the Jays have lost, P’Allen’s stat line looks like this in the 4 losses he played in:
12-35 from the field, about 9 pts a game, 4 rebounds, less than 1 assist per game, 2 turnovers a game and less than 2 steals a game. Then he didn’t even play in the Nebraska game.
So I guess I am saying that when P’Allen has a bad game, the Jays have lost. When he chooses not to play, it hurts the team immensely. If P is P and plays how he feels, then the Jays will lose Tuesday night. If he brings it and helps be a leader for this team, Creighton wins going away. However, these teams have had really close games at Evansville (4 of last 5 at Evansville have been 4 points or less) and they will have another dogfight in this one. I still have faith that they can win on the road.
Prediction: Creighton 65, Evansville 61.