BluejayBanter - Great opening night for Creighton
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Great opening night for Creighton

The Creighton University men's and women's basketball teams officially kicked off the start of the season with the fan-friendly "Bluejay Madness" event, which took place in front of a standing-room only crowd and nationally televised ESPNU audience on Friday night at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Before the festivities kicked off, baseball coach Ed Servais and first-year men's soccer coach Elmar Bolowich thanked the crowd for supporting their respective teams and urged fans to continue to do so. The near-capacity crowd passionately welcomed the student-athletes, setting an energetic tone for the night.
The three-point contest kicked off Bluejay Madness following a brief shoot around. The teams of Mckenzie Fujan/Taylor Stormberg, Sarah Nelson/Jahenns Manigat, Taylor Johnson/Ethan Wragge and DaNae Moore/Josh Jones did not advance. Wragge, who lost most of last season due to plantar fasciitis, looked a little rusty, but is still expected to be the teams' best perimeter shooter.
Sammy Jensen and Ross Ferrarini's score of 20 was the highest in the semifinals, while Jordan Garrison and Grant Gibbs tallied 19. Following impressive performances, the teams of Jasmin Corbin/Avery Dingman and Ally Jensen/Doug McDermott were eliminated after the semifinals. Garrison and Gibbs defeated Jensen and Ferrarini in the finals by a score of 16-10. Not many were predicting Gibbs' team to win the competition, but his ability to knock down open jump shots should stretch opposing defenses and open up the Jays offense.
The women's team played a brief scrimmage, where the white team defeated the blue team 9-8, before the dunk contest started. Of the five competitors in the dunk contest, Antoine Young was the only non-freshman, after the hoops collected just enough signatures to ban Gregory Echenique from competition.
Avery Dingman, Nevin Johnson, Will Artino and Austin Chatman rounded out the field. Dingman did not complete a dunk after attempts at going between his legs and a double pump reverse jam failed. Johnson showed a nice vertical in his reverse dunk, but could not advance to the finals. Last year's co-champion, Antoine Young, also failed to advance after his dunk, where he lobbed the ball to himself off the ground and threw it down with one hand.
Artino used a pass from freshman walk-on, Alex Olsen, to dunk two balls at the same time which got the crowd on its feet. Artino's dunk proved to be a good opening act. The six-foot tall Chatman, the contest's shortest competitor, stole the show following his dunk over seven-footer Geoff Groselle. The dunk earned a perfect score of 30 from the panel consisting of video board celebrity, "Dancing Grandma" and former Jays' greats Nate Funk and Kyle Korver for the win.
Coach Greg McDermott enjoyed the dunk, and was glad it was executed safely.
"Pretty good dunk for a little guy to jump over a seven footer, although he used a little boost on the way up. Something that I probably wouldn't recommend, I'm glad I didn't know what he was going to do. It might not have happened," said McDermott.
Before the men's scrimmage started, former Jay, Nick Bahe, who served as an M.C. for the event, prompted Alyssa Kamphaus and Nevin Johnson to midcourt for a dance-off. If Johnson can play as well as he can dance, Jays fans will be pleased.
Johnson may have made the best play in the scrimmage after tipping in a missed shot with his back to the basket giving his team the 11-2 lead. As expected, the white team had no answer for Echenique down low, which led his team back to tie the game at eleven. The teams went back and forth, with the tie scored at 20. Josh Jones hit a jump shot that just beat the buzzer to cap an 11-6 Blue team run to end the game giving them the 31-26 victory.
Coach McDermott didn't take too much away from what he saw in the scrimmage.
"We just wanted it for the entertainment value for our fans. There obviously wasn't a whole lot of defense played and that was part of the plan," said McDermott.
While the play was fairly sloppy and the focus was probably more on fan entertainment than quality basketball, there were a few things to take away.
Gibbs looks like he will have a real impact on this team, after last year when ball handing on the perimeter was a weakness. Throughout the game, Young seemed to get to the hole at will and Chapman showed quick handles and an explosive burst. McDermott looks more than ready to continue his success after an impressive freshman year and summer with the under 19 USA team, and Echenique looks to have shed a little unnecessary weight following a summer full of basketball with the Venezuelan national team.
"We really got nine or ten days where we can really zero in on our basketball team 24 hours a day, so there is going to be a lot of film watching. Defensively is where we will probably spend 70 percent of the time at least in the next five or six days, and that is fatiguing from a mental standpoint when we're spending that much time on defense. But if we want to be a team that competes for a championship, we've got to make some strides at the defensive end of the floor," said McDermott.
Most importantly "Bluejay Madness" was a blast for the teams and fans alike, and nobody got hurt.