Jays Start Slow, Finish Strong in Exhibition

A strong second half leaves the Bluejays feeling better a week from the start of the regular season.

Creighton opened the 2013-14 season with a 89-61 win over Northern State in the lone exhibition game of the season at CenturyLink Center Omaha.

Doug McDermott scored 26 points in 24 minutes of action for the hosts.

As a team, the Jays had 14 players score in the 28-point win over the Wolves. Leading 45-35 at the break, CU outscored their opponents 44-26 in the second half to pull away for the convincing win in front of 16,299 fans.

In the opening half, Creighton shot 63.6 percent from the field (14-of-22), 6-10 from three-point distance, and 11-18 from the charity stripe. McDermott led all scorers with 16 points in the opening half, while Isaiah Zierden hit two threes from the corner in his eight-point first half. The Jays outscored the Wolves 12-6 on the fast break and 16-6 in the paint through the first 20 minutes.

The Bluejays led by as many as 11 points in the opening half. There were two ties between the teams. Defensively, the Jays won the battle of the boards NSU 17-13 and forced three steals to set up the break while holding the opposition to 42.9 percent shooting.

Leading by just 10 points, Creighton hit Northern State hard to begin the second half with McDermott scoring eight of the teams first 10. Will Artino scored six of his eight points in the second half and grabbed five of his eight rebounds in the final 20 minutes. After a slow start, Bluejay head coach Greg McDermott was pleased to see a stronger effort in the second half.

"Did a much better job in the second half, I think it was just good for everyone to get into game action," said head coach Greg McDermott.

Newcomer Devin Brooks had seven assists on the evening, which was one more than Grant Gibbs. Brooks hit CU post players consistently for finishes, including one pass --seemingly from half court -- that got the crowd out of their seats. Brooks was among the newcomers that impressed Bluejay veterans.

"Isaiah (Zierden) and Devin stood out with how they played tonight, in addition to a few others," said Doug McDermott.

"Zach (Hanson) showed good hands but Devin definitely played well," Artino added.

The capper on the evening was Mogboluwaga Oginni's dunk late in the contest, which brought the Jays bench and crowd to their feet.

For the game, the Jays shot 62.5 percent from the field, including 9-of-20 from beyond the arc. CU out rebounded NSU 41-28. The Bluejays bench tallied 49 points in front of the largest exhibition crowd in school history.

On November 8, Creighton opens the regular season with Alcorn State at 7 p.m., which can be seen on Fox Sports Net for those unable to make it to the CenturyLink Center. Although Creighton showed some rust in the early parts of the game, the team is still confident in its ability to take their new league by storm.

"We feel we can make a splash in our first year in the BIG EAST," said McDermott.

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