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November 2, 2012

Creighton blows out U of Mary

​Since Creighton opted to play Iowa last Saturday in a closed-door scrimmage, the Bluejays were left with one exhibition game - Friday's contest with University of Mary - to work off the rust before the regular season starts.

​Apparently, the 16th ranked team in the nation only needed a couple minutes to return to last season's form.

The Marauders hung tough in the early stages, Kevin Jensen's three pointer four minutes into the game tied the scored at 10. From that point on, it was all Bluejays, specifically Avery Dingman. Dingman caught fire scoring 13 of the Bluejays 17 points during a 17-0 run that put the game out of reach before half. Throughout the remainder of the half, Dingman's warmth spread to his teammates as Doug McDermott, Ethan Wragge, and Josh Jones joined the long-range assault. At halftime the scoreboard read 61-21 Bluejays, after Creighton connected on 10 of 15 threes.

"We got off to kind of a shaky start there, hitting shots. Then from there, that first media timeout, we kind of got it together, put together a big run there and everything was kind of clicking," said McDermott, who scored all 18 of his points in the first half.

Dingman added 18, joining McDermott as leading scorers. Josh Jones was the only other Bluejay in double figures adding 13 connecting on four of his six three-pointers in the 89-51 victory. Dingman and Jones experience expanded roles with Jahenns Manigat sidelined with a bruised thigh, and Nevin Johnson on the bench, in a boot, with a sprained ankle. Johnson will be inactive until December, but Manigat, his coach hopes, is looking at a closer return.

"He brings something to our team that really nobody else has, he's an energizer. We miss that in practice, and we miss it at times during games when we get a little bit flat," said Coach Greg McDermott. "We're not going to rush him, we are not going to put him at risk, certainly. It has made good progress the past two or three days. I think if we can get as much progress in the next two or three days hopefully he will be ready to go on Friday."

​Friday night also marked the debut of two true freshmen guards, Andre Yates and Isaiah Zierden. Yates played 17 minutes at the point, shooting 2-6 for the floor, finishing with four points, five rebounds, three steals, two assists, and no turnovers. Zierden split time between point and shooting guards, as he was need with Manigat and Johnson absent. The combo guard struggled from the floor finishing 0-5 from the field, but made all four free throw attempts, added six rebounds, and two assists in 18 minutes. The two are competing to back up sophomore Austin Chatman, and potentially avoid a redshirt season, although no decision has been made yet.

"Our plan was to use them both at point and kind of evaluate from there, but because of the injuries we've had to slide Isaiah to the two both in practice and tonight, and, of course, when we scrimmaged Iowa. So, Andre's got far more reps, and I've been pleased with what he has done, but in terms of making a decision, you know, we will wait until closer to Friday to do anything," said McDermott.

The Bluejays and their young trio of point guards have a week to prepare for their first official game, of the highly anticipated season. Next Friday will present the Bluejays with an opponent very unlike the teams they have faced in practice, in the closed scrimmage, and exhibition game.

"Rebounding is going to be huge. Making sure we take care of the basketball is going to be huge, because the little bit I've seen of North Texas, you know, they're very talented, very athletic and they're going to pose some problems that, obviously, I don't think we've seen in the scrimmage versus Iowa, or tonight," said McDermott.

"Some of those are hard to simulate in practice, because we don't have a guy that's 6'9" and has a 40-inch vertical jump like Tony Mitchell. It's going to be a challenge. North Texas very well could be one of the more talent teams we play in non-conference play."


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