Men’s Basketball Faces Colorado State on Sunday at Paradise Jam
Game #5: Creighton Bluejays vs. Colorado State Rams
Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021 • 4:45 p.m. CST
Sports and Fitness Center (3,000) • St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Radio: KOZN 1620 AM, www.1620thezone.com
Broadcast: ESPN3.com (Brad Wells, Kevin Lehman)
Series History: Creighton leads, 3-1
Last Meeting: Creighton 74, Colorado State 51 on Dec. 4, 2000 in Omaha, Neb.
LIVE VIDEO | LIVE AUDIO | LIVE STATS | CU NOTES (PDF)
• After a day off on Saturday, Creighton and Colorado State meet in the semifinals of the Paradise Jam at 4:45 p.m. Central on Sunday, Nov. 21 in a battle of 4-0 teams.
With a loss, Creighton would advance to the third-place game on Monday, Nov. 22 at 4:45 p.m. Central against the loser of Sunday’s Northeastern/Southern Illinois game.
With a win, Creighton would advance to the tournament title game on Monday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. Central against the winner of Sunday’s Northeastern/Southern Illinois game.
• Creighton is 3-1 all-time vs. Colorado State, though the teams have not met since CU’s 74-51 win in Omaha on Dec. 6, 2000.
Greg McDermott has never faced Colorado State nor Niko Medved and is 3-4 (3-3 at Creighton) against the current membership in the Mountain West Conference.
• All five Creighton starters scored in the first four minutes of Friday’s win vs. Brown, and each of those men would finish the game scoring in double-figures.
The last time that Creighton had all five men score in double-figures was March 22, 2021 vs. Ohio, a win that sent the Bluejays to the Sweet 16.
Creighton has won 22 straight games when five or more players have 10 points or more.
• Ryan Nembhard scored 10 points vs. Brown on Friday, the fourth time in as many games that he’s reached double-digits.
Nembhard is the third Bluejay freshman in the last 27 seasons to score in double-figures during CU’s first four games, joining Doug McDermott (2010-11) and Justin Patton (2016-17). Both McDermott and Patton did it in eight straight games to open their freshmen seasons, and both men went on to be named Conference Freshman of the Year.
• Creighton has held all four opponents under 40 percent from the field, the first time its started a season like that since at least 1980-81.
Overall, CU opponents are shooting 34.5 percent from the floor this year, which ranks 22nd-best nationally. Bluejay opponents are shooting just 26.5 percent from three-point range, which puts CU 60th-best in the country in that category.
Colorado State ranks 11th nationally in field goal percentage at 53.8 percent. The Rams have shot 40 percent or better in all four contests and 50 percent or better three times.
• Creighton is holding foes to 61.8 points per game and has won 26 straight games when holding opponents to 69 points or less.
Colorado State is 29th nationally with 88.5 points per game.
• Creighton and Colorado State share one common opponent this winter. The Bluejays beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 90-77 on Nov. 9, while the Rams topped the Golden Lions 91-71 three days later in Fort Collins.
• Ryan Kalkbrenner had a career-high nine rebounds on Tuesday in a road win at Nebraska, then followed that with a career-high 19 points on Friday vs. Brown. Kalkbrenner made 9-of-13 shots from the floor and also grabbed five rebounds and two blocked shots.
• Creighton has started 4-0 for the seventh time in Greg McDermott‘s 12 seasons as head coach.
Creighton has started 5-0 on five previous occasions under McDermott, most recently the 2016-17 team that also won the Paradise Jam.
Through games of Friday, only 68 unbeaten teams nationally remained.
• No school has ever won the Paradise Jam more than once, something Creighton is attempting to do. Sunday marks the five-year anniversary of Creighton’s 86-77 win vs. Ole Miss in the title game of the 2016 Paradise Jam.
• Alex O’Connell had just three games of seven or more points last season but he’s started his super senior season in extraordinary fashion. O’Connell tied his collegiate high with 20 points in the season-opener and has followed that up with exactly 13 points in each of the past three contests.
O’Connell is the first Bluejay with four straight games of 13+ points to start the season since Marcus Zegarowski did it in five straight to open the 2019-20 campaign. Zegarowski was named a First Team All-BIG EAST choice and Second Team All-American at year’s end.
Each of the last eight times a Creighton player has opened with four straight games of 13+ points, that individual has gone on to be named First Team All-Conference (Zegarowski 5 in 2019-20; Marcus Foster 8 in 2016-17; Doug McDermott 6 in 2013-14 and 12 in 2011-12; Nate Funk 4 in 2004-05; Kyle Korver 4 in 2002-03; Rodney Buford 6 in 1998-99 and 4 in 1997-98).
O’Connell is the only current Bluejay who has played against Colorado State, scoring 14 points in 25 minutes of an 89-55 Duke romp over the Rams on Nov. 8, 2019.
• Creighton has outrebounded the opposition by 9.8 rebounds per game this season, winning the board battle by six or more in every contest.
The commitment to rebounding has been a team effort. All seven Bluejays to appear in all four games this winter are averaging at least 4.0 rebounds per game, led by Ryan Hawkins (8.5 rpg.).
• Friday’s win vs. Brown means that teams with Ryan Hawkins improved to 163-8 at the collegiate level. Those teams are an unfathomable 38-0 at neutral sites.