Today’s Creighton game against Southern Illinois really showed how much this Jays team has been coming along over the past few weeks. They have now won 6 in a row and pretty much took the Saluki’s out behind the woodshed for their second beating in as many games winning 82-60.
Again, 5 Creighton players scored in double figures, with 2 of the 5 coming off the bench. The rotation of the first unit and second unit has seemed to work pretty well and has kept the continuity going between the players. The 10 rotating players are all contributing in their own ways. P’Allen Stinnett, Booker Woodfox and Kenny Lawson scored in double figures while Kaleb Korver and Kenton Walker came off the bench to keep the balanced scoring. Lawson was a rebound away from a double-double, Korver was 4-6 from 3 and Walker was 5-5 from the field go to with 5 rebounds.
The team shot 57% from the field for the game and just took it to SIU from the beginning and didn’t let up. I think the idea was to wear the Saluki’s out because of their thin team and they just kept pushing the ball and playing tight defense. The game plan worked to a T and this was a fun game to watch.
With the trouble that the Jays have had with Southern Illinois the past few years, the Jays have now won the last 3 and 4 out of the last 5 against the Salukis, but the first win in Carbondale in over 7 years.
The key to this streak for the Jays have been the focus on the inside game. The combination of Kenny Lawson and Kenton Walker the past 5 games have made the difference. Combined at the Center position, they are averaging almost 19 points and 11.5 rebounds a game–basically the type of numbers you would expect from a 40 minute center and the equalizer to keep the defense honest and opening up the outside shooters.
With the loss by Northern Iowa tonight against Wichita St., the Jays are now only 1 game out with 3 conference games to go. The Jays now have 3 of their last 4 games at home (Evansville, Illinois St. and George Mason bracketbuster) and the remaining road game is a very winnable game at last place Missouri St. Northern Iowa hosts Drake and Evansville while going on the road to Illinois St. and Siena for the Bracketbuster. Ooh, the Valley race has just gotten even more interesting and will play out in these final two weeks. Stay tuned for more fun.