Some quick observations from the most intense 22-point game I’ve ever seen:
Scary deal with Josh Jones’ pre-game black-out. I saw Jones warming up 90 minutes before the game, when a few Jays were shooting and the Red Zonies were heckling them. Apparently right after the team came out to warm-up, Jones lost his balance and fell backward. He was taken to the locker room on a stretcher and then to a local hospital for observation. Jays coaches and staff outside the CU locker room after the game still didn’t have word on how Jones was doing. Jones had heart surgery while at Omaha Central but nobody could remember that happening before.
Doug McDermott was fired up. I haven’t seen him that emotional in a game. Doug came to play. After his non-travel call (sure looked like he bunny-hopped and came up) and Tim Miles’ ensuing technical, the crowd was hooting and hollering. McDermott flapped his arms as if to gesture to the crowd to keep it going. That just angered the Husker crowd more. Doug the villain?
NU coach Tim Miles said Creighton learned something by watching what “Omaha” (UNO) did here in a loss to NU two weeks ago. That is, the Jays backed off the Husker players they figured were no threat to score and concentrated on Ray Gallegos and Dylan Talley. The scouting report on Gallegos is he doesn’t like to score off the dribble. So Jahenns Manigat was instructed to smother him and force him away from screens and toward the baseline if possible. It worked. Gallegos took eight shots, made two.
Gregory Echenique has shown up big the last two games. Greg McDermott said Echenique had “man” rebounds among his 12 last night. If No. 00 plays like that this season, Creighton will be unbelievably tough to beat.
I thought the game was called a little too tight. Just as I predicted, if that happened, it would impact Nebraska and its short bench. Creighton players took advantage. They were more physical, as they should have been. This is a more physical team this year. That will serve them well, too. I’m not saying the outcome would have been any different. I don’t think it would. On the other hand, as I said, this rivalry game was pretty intense. The officials obviously wanted to be on top of it.
It almost got away from them. I thought we might have some action when Avery Dingman and Mike Peltz got tangled up at mid court, fighting for the ball. Teammates circled around them and joined the scrum for the ball. It was that intense.
Hadn’t seen that alley-oop from Grant Gibbs to Echenique this season. Greg McDermott said teams have taken it away so far but it was there tonight.
Gibbs emerged from the locker room with two long red claw marks on the left side of his face. Asked how it happened, Gibbs shrugged and said, “I have no idea.”
Great crowd tonight. There was a considerable blue presence, pushed up to the rafters. They made noise. Miles heard them and made mention of the CU chants.
Quote of the night, from Tim Miles: “One guy scores 27, another has 12 rebounds, another has 10 assists, another makes three 3-pointers. That’s a few pieces to the puzzle … You try to stop one thing and they do another. It’s like if you’re playing chess, you say, “How many queens do they have? How many bishops? And we’re just playing with a regular set.”