Published Friday, February 8, 2013 AT 12:10 AM / Updated at 10:24 AM
Valley foes putting clamps on Gibbs
Steven Pivovar Omaha World-Herald

Creighton guard Grant Gibbs is finding the efficiency with which he made plays during nonconference play has become a little more difficult recently.

In the Bluejays’ first 12 games, Gibbs dished out 75 assists and committed just 12 turnovers in compiling a jaw-dropping 6.25-to-1 assists-to-turnovers ratio. He had a three-game stretch in which he recorded 27 assists and had just one turnover.

In Creighton’s 12 Missouri Valley games, Gibbs has 65 assists and 36 turnovers, including eight in one game. While his 1.81-to-1 assists-to-turnovers ratio is still respectable, it’s hardly what Bluejays fans have come to know from him.

Scouring video in an attempt to figure out what’s behind the drop in efficiency leaves Gibbs convinced part of the problem comes with familiarity.

“I think you have to look at opponents and the time of the year,’’ Gibbs said.

Valley coaches, used to seeing Gibbs, are better suited to come up with plans to try to neutralize him as opposed to the coaches of Creighton’s nonconference opponents that often were facing the senior guard for the first time.

“In watching tape, passes that were there at the beginning of the year are being taken away and I’m still trying to squeeze them in there,’’ Gibbs said. “People are playing me different, and I need to make adjustments.’’

Gibbs said that’s part of the challenge of conference play, but it’s a two-way street.

“It should be benefitting me as well,’’ he said. “There’s no doubt that people know you better and have a plan for you. I need to do a better job of doing things to offset that.”

Gibbs picked up countless assists in nonconference play in setting up teammates in Creighton’s transition game. Now, some of those easy assists aren’t coming as Valley opponents are doing everything they can to slow the Bluejays’ running game.

“Our strength is not walking it up the court,’’ Gibbs said. “We work a lot on our halfcourt offense but we need to get stops and run. That’s when we’re at our best.”

That part of Creighton’s game was almost non-existent in Wednesday’s 76-57 loss at Indiana State. Too many times, the Bluejays found themselves forced to try to break down Indiana State’s stingy defense in the halfcourt. A season-low point total underscores Creighton’s lack of success in that endeavor.

Creighton coach Greg McDermott called Indiana State’s defense the best his team has faced all season. Gibbs won’t disagree.

“You have to give credit to them,” he said. “Our execution obviously had something to do with it, but they deserve a lot of credit for the way they got after us.”

About Steven Pivovar

Steven Pivovar is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and primarily covers Creighton athletics and the College World Series. You can follow Steven on Twitter (@PivOWH) or email him at spivovar@owh.com.