Creighton-Indiana St. Preview
By JEFF MEZYDLO
(AP) -- Creighton used a second-half burst to continue its home dominance over Indiana State last month.
Based on the way the Sycamores have played at home and against some of the other top teams in the nation, the Bluejays could be seriously challenged for the duration of their next meeting.
Riding a three-game winning streak, the No. 16 Bluejays look for a fifth consecutive victory over the Sycamores in Wednesday night's Missouri Valley Conference matchup.
Doug McDermott had 25 points and Gregory Echenique added 16 as Creighton (20-3, 9-2) won 79-66 over Indiana State on Jan. 5, going on a 19-4 second-half run to break open a game tied at halftime.
The Bluejays have won four in a row in the series and taken 14 consecutive matchups at Omaha. The Sycamores, though, won two straight and five of seven at home over Creighton before a 61-60 loss there Feb. 25.
The teams' last three meetings at Indiana State (14-8, 7-4) have been decided by nine points.
This contest begins a stretch of three of four on the road for Creighton.
"This is where the grind starts," said McDermott, second in the nation with 24.0 points per game. "Wednesday, we've got a good Indiana State team."
Creighton has shot 56.1 percent while winning three straight by an average of 20.3 points, bouncing back from consecutive road losses to Wichita State and Drake.
However, Indiana State has held opponents to a Missouri Valley-low 39.3 percent shooting while going 8-1 at home. The Sycamores also have neutral-court victories over Mississippi and Miami, which has risen to eighth in this week's AP poll.
Indiana State snapped a six-game skid to Top 25 opponents with a 68-55 win at then-No. 15 Wichita State on Jan. 29.
While the Sycamores feel they can play with some of the best in the nation and will have the crowd on their side, they are looking to rebound from a 74-71 overtime loss at Drake on Saturday. They'll be trying for a more complete effort against the Bluejays.
"We were hanging around in there, kind of hanging by the skin of our teeth," coach Greg Lansing said after the loss at Creighton last month. "We just didn't do the things we really needed to do at either end of the court to beat an outstanding team."
The top-shooting team in the nation at 52.0 percent, Creighton made 55.1 percent against the Sycamores in January and 69.2 in the final 20 minutes Saturday, when they overcame a three-point halftime deficit in a 75-58 win over Bradley.
After going 27 of 48 from 3-point range in the previous two games, the Bluejays were 7 of 21 from beyond the arc in the first half against Bradley. They regrouped in the second to go 5 of 10 on 3s and worked the ball into Echenique, who scored eight of his 10 after the break.
"That's kind of been our bread-and-butter all year, playing inside-out basketball," said McDermott, who finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
McDermott, a 51.0 percent shooter from 3-point range this season, has made 35.0 percent (7 of 20) from beyond the arc in five career games versus the Sycamores.
Indiana State guard Jake Odum averages a team-leading 13.9 points but has totaled 17 in two home games versus Creighton.
Updated February 5, 2013