The Gaels take on the Creighton BlueJays in the ESPN bracket buster this afternoon at sold out McKeon pavilion. The Gaels are looking for another huge win after beating BYU 64-57 Thursday night.
The Gaels have jumped to 23-5 for the season and have clinched a minimum second place finish at 12-2 in the WCC. This afternoon, the Gaels look to increase their chances at an NCAA tourney spot and hope to edge closer to another 25 game plus winning season.
Look for another intense and high energy battle today as the Gael defense will look to shut down one of the toughest offensive performers in the country; Doug McDermott.
The Gaels defense has been impressive of late. Coach Bennett has been working very hard in making the Gael defense tough to penetrate. In the last 12 games, the Gaels have been allowing just 60.5 points a game.
Against BYU the Gaels finally looked good from the line and went 22-26 (84.6%). If they can continue to perform well with critical free throws and strong defense, they become an incredibly difficult team to beat.
Statistically, the Gaels are ranked number 10 in the nation in shooting percentage (48.4%). Leading the way for the Gaels is Matthew Dellavedova who is averaging 16.0 points per game. Stephen Holt and Beau Levesque are also double digit scorers for the Gaels. Watch for all three from behind the arc today.
Defensively, off the bench, watch for Jordan Giusti. Giuist had an impressive defensive performance against BYU and virtually stopped Matt Carlino limiting him to just two points.
The Jays are currently 22-6 overall and 11-5 in their division the (MVC) The Jays are essentially matched with the Gaels in points average per game at 76.0. The Gaels are 76.1. In shooting percentage the Jays are ranked number two in the nation with a 50.8% average. Creighton is also strong in assists with a 17.3 average ranking them 4th.
Leading the way for Creighton is junior guard Doug McDermott. McDermott is the only Jay player in double digits this season. He averages 22.5 points per game. He’s been averaging 54.9% from the floor and 47.9% from behind the arc. Behind McDermott, is Gregory Echenique. Echenique is averaging 9.5 points per game with an outstanding 65% average from the floor. Both players are tough to stop defensively and this will be a huge factor in today’s game.
Look for the Jays to try to dominate on offense early. When the Jays have scored over 70 points this season they have lost just one game.
Today the action starts at 3:00pm. The game can be seen on ESPN2 and heard at smcgaels.com