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Wins now could pad Creighton’s resume in March

- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 29, 2011

OMAHA, NEB. (AP) - Creighton is 5-0 and outscoring opponents by 24 points a game.

The Bluejays still aren't sure how good they are. They will get an idea starting Wednesday night when they play at San Diego State, which made the NCAA regional semifinals last season. A home game against in-state rival Nebraska follows on Sunday, then a visit to St. Joseph's on Dec. 10.

"Those are teams that are going to win a lot of games before the season is over," coach Greg McDermott said, "and that's how they measure you in March when it comes time for possibly being an (NCAA) at-large team.

"Are we that team? No, we're not there yet. But we have a chance to have a good season, and this two-week stretch is going to tell us a lot about where we're going moving forward."

The Bluejays' 89.6 points a game ranks fourth nationally, and they're in the top 10 in four other offensive categories. Doug McDermott, the nation's No. 4 scorer at 23.4 points a game, is the first Creighton player since Kyle Korver in 2002-03 to have four straight 20-point games.

Doug McDermott said he is a bit surprised he is scoring so much.

"Bottom line is I want to win, like every other guy on this team," he said. "It doesn't matter who's scoring the most points. It just matters if we're winning at the end of the night."

The Bluejays have been winning easily, scoring 90 or more points three times after doing that just once the previous three seasons.

They have won on the road at struggling UAB, the defending Conference USA champion, and clobbered the Big Ten's Iowa by 23 points at a neutral site. They shot a school-record 70.4 percent from the field in a 23-point home win over Campbell last week and are sitting one spot out of the Top 25.

But Creighton has lost 27 of 34 road games the last two years. San Diego State (7-1) has won 38 of 40 at home and already owns a road win over then-No. 23 Arizona this season.

Grant Gibbs, a Gonzaga transfer who has been a spark on both ends of the court for the Missouri Valley Conference favorite Bluejays, said the value of Wednesday's game can't be underestimated.

"From an RPI standpoint," he said, "you don't get a lot of (these) games from our conference."

Coach McDermott said his team's prolific offensive production has overshadowed deficiencies on defense. Campbell shot 52 percent and outrebounded the Bluejays 31-26.

He said it is human nature for players to let defense slide when the winning margins are so wide.

"Frankly, it's one of my concerns," he said. "We haven't been in a close game. We haven't been in a situation where the score is tied with a minute to go and we need a score and a stop to win the game."

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