Saint Joseph’s played carelessly and inefficiently and #11 Creighton shot lights out which led to a blow out in Omaha. The Hawks committed 17 turnovers, shot 38% from the field, and allowed their opponent to shoot 57% including 48% from three-point range. The final score was 80-51.
For SJU, there were few positives to glean from the highly anticipated follow-up to last year’s 80-71 Hawk victory over the Blue Jays. Forwards Halil Kanacevic and Ron Roberts got into early foul trouble, including a technical from Roberts, which helped Creighton take a 27 point lead into the half. Only one Hawk, Langston Galloway (10) managed to accumulate double figures. However, Langston was only 1-7 from three which continues a disturbing trend for the junior who last year ranked 6th in the country in three-point field-goal percentage.
Sophomore Papa Ndao had his best game of the season with 8 points and 3 rebounds as the rest of the frontcourt struggled mightily to contain All-American candidate Doug McDermott and Gregory Echenique who scored 23 and 16 respectively and dismantled the Hawks man-to-man and zone defenses. St. Joe’s failed to keep Creighton from scoring while playing man defense and switched to 1-3-1 zone but that led to more open looks from the corners for Creighton’s capable shooters. CJ Aiken and Kanacevic were able to block three shots a piece but outside shooting doomed SJU all around.
As has been the issue in the past for Phil Martelli’s teams, the half-court offense was poor and inefficient, at one point averaging only a point per minute. What resulted was a number of desperate three-point attempts and only 25% of those were successful.
The Hawks will now look to regroup and travel to Baltimore for a 7:30 tilt against Coppin State on Tuesday at 7:30 PM.