Longwood faces long odds in clash with No. 14 Creighton
Omaha, NE (Sports Network) - The 14th-ranked Creighton Bluejays will try and finish their four-game homestand undefeated on Tuesday night when they host the Longwood Lancers as part of the 2012 Las Vegas Invitational.
Longwood has faced three difficult opponents this year and it has been overmatched in each game. The Lancers fought hard at home against Norfolk State before losing, 78-66, and they were on the wrong end of much more decisive road matchups against both Marshall (81-47) and Arkansas (112-63).
Creighton has lived up to its preseason ranking in the early going with three convincing wins over North Texas (71-51), UAB (77-60) and Presbyterian (87-51), having barely broken a sweat in each triumph. The Bluejays are 3-0 for the 12th time in the last 14 season, and they have won 40 straight home games against non-conference opponents.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two teams.
Longwood has struggled at both ends of the floor to start the season. Not only does it score just 58.7 ppg on less than 37 percent shooting from the field, but the team allows its opponents to put up 90.3 ppg on better than 49 percent field goal shooting. The Lancers haven't helped themselves in protecting the ball either as they average 20.3 turnovers per game. In their most crushing defeat of the year, they allowed Arkansas to put up 112 points while the Lancers shot only 39.6 percent from the floor (including just 4-of-17 from three-point range). Michael Kessen made the most of the blowout defeat by recording a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and he's been by far the team's most impressive player in the early going (15.0 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 2.3 bpg). Tristan Carey drained three of the team's four three-pointers en route to 12 points, and David Robinson chipped in with 11 points.
Creighton has built a reputation of being one of the best shooting teams in the nation over the past several seasons, and the start of the 2012-13 campaign has been no different as it is draining 54.2 percent of its field goal attempts. The Bluejays reached new highs against Presbyterian the last time out by connecting on 32-of-52 from the field (.615), including 12-of-24 from beyond the arc. Doug McDermott was nearly perfect in 22 minutes of action, going 7-of-9 from the field and 8-of-8 from the foul line en route to 24 points. The All-American has lived up to the hype so far with averages of 16.7 ppg and 8.3 rpg. Ethan Wragge was on fire from outside, making 6-of-8 three-point attempts for 18 points off the bench. Austin Chatman put up nine points and dished out a career-high 11 assists. Behind McDermott, Creighton relies on a number of role players to fill out the score sheet, as six players average between 6.0 and 11.3 ppg.