Game #7: #14 Arizona Wildcats (5-0) vs. #10 Creighton Bluejays (6-0)
Wednesday, Nov. 23 • 4:00 pm CT • Maui, Hawaii • Lahaina Civic Center
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• No. 10 Creighton (6-0) meets No. 14 Arizona (5-0) in a top 15 match at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational on Wednesday, November 23 at 4 pm Central (12 pm Hawaiian). The Lahaina Civic Center will host the event.
• The game can be followed on ESPN and WatchESPN.com with Jay Bilas and Dan Shulman. The game can be heard on 1620 The Zone and 101.9 The Keg in conversation with John Bishop. For live statistics for the game, visit http://Maui.StatBroadcast.com.
• Due to BIG EAST’s partnership with Fox Sports, Creighton doesn’t play many games on ESPN family networks.
From 2008-09 to 2021-22, Creighton had a total of five games on ESPN (not ESPN2/ESPNU/ESPNNEWS), with the only two of those wins coming in the 2016 NIT (versus Alabama and Wagner). That number will grow fairly quickly as the Jays will play a second straight day on ESPN on Wednesday and the competition will also be televised on the mothership in Texas next Thursday.
Tuesday’s win over No. 9 Arkansas was Creighton’s first win on ESPN since February 18, 2006, a 67-62 win over Fresno State in a BracketBusters game that tipped Central at 11:02 p.m.
By comparison, Creighton has appeared 162 times (113 wins) on FS1 since the network launched in 2013 and 24 times on the “big” FOX (9 times wins) since 2015-16.
While not much in the global leaderboard, all but six of Creighton’s last 202 games have been televised (three games each at the Cayman Islands Classic and Paradise Jam 2021).
• Creighton and Arizona have split two previous meetings, but it has been more than 40 years since the clubs met on the hardwood.
Arizona defeated CU on January 16, 1969, 72-63. The first meeting took place on December 16, 1967 when Creighton won a 70-66 decision in Omaha.
Greg McDermott has never coached against Arizona but is 9-4 as Creighton coach against the Pac-12.
• The Creighton and Arizona programs don’t have much in common.
Former Creighton Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach and current Diversity and Inclusion Officer Len Gordi played for Arizona from 1973 to 1977 and then was an assistant coach at his alma mater under Fred Snowden for six years. Gordy has been with Creighton since 1994.
Forward Arthur Kaluma finished high school at Dream City Christian in Glendale, Ariz.
• Creighton’s starting XI has played 334:49 minutes on Maui versus 65:11 on the bench.
Arizona fielded its starters for 290-30 compared to 109-30 from its reserve corps.
• Creighton is making his first appearance at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational in program history and is seeking his sixth MTE title in 12 events Greg McDermott. CU has won the 2010 Hy-Vee Challenge, the 2011 Dale Howard Classic, the 2012 Las Vegas Invite, the 2015 MGM Grand Main Event, the 2015 Paradise Jam, and the 2018 Cayman Islands Classic.
Creighton is now 36-7 below McDermott in MTEs after Tuesday’s win over Arkansas.
• Legendary Marquette coach Al McGuire once said the best thing about freshmen is that they’re a sophomore. The Bluejay Trio of Arthur Kaluma, Trey Alexander and Ryan Nembhard were all part of the BIG EAST All-Freshman team last season and all three have had fantastic starts in their sophomore year.
The trio combined for 51 points on 17 of 27 shots from the ground, including 6 of 9 accuracy from deep and 11 of 13 shots on the line in Monday’s win against Texas Tech.
Yesterday these three men scored 46 points together. 14 of 26 shots and sinking 3 of 5 three-pointers.
• Monday’s win over No. 21 Texas Tech marked the ninth straight season the Jays have recorded at least one top-25 win. Tuesday’s win means Creighton has beaten multiple ranked opponents for the eighth consecutive year.
Creighton is now 49-157 all-time against top 25 clubs and 12-31 on neutral grounds.
Creighton is 15-15 all time with both teams ranking in the top-25.
Greg McDermott is 31-42 as Creighton’s coach against top 25 teams, compared to an 18-115 mark for all other Creighton coaches. McDermott is 12-19 as a CU coach against top 10 opponents, down from a 5-51 mark prior to his arrival.
• Prior to the last two days, Creighton had never beaten a team in the rankings on consecutive days.
Of course, that also means Creighton can beat ranked teams on consecutive days for the first time with a win over No. 14 Arizona on Wednesday.
Creighton has never played three straight games against ranked teams and won all three, something else it can achieve against No. 14 Arizona on Wednesday.
• Creighton is shooting 52.0 percent from the field this season, including a 56.9 percent mark in Maui. Since Greg McDermottSince he was hired in 2010, Creighton’s 47.8 percent accuracy rate has been the fourth best in the nation, behind only Gonzaga (50.6), Belmont (48.4) and Kansas (47.9).
Likewise, Creighton’s 177 games, which have shot at least 50 percent since 2010, trail only Gonzaga (247), Belmont (183), and Kansas (182). Tuesday marked Creighton’s fifth straight game in which the Jays have shot 50 percent or more.
• Creighton has made 135 of 219 two-point attempts this season, a 61.6 percent share.
Arizona has made a national-leading 62.1 percent of all field goal attempts this fall, shooting 139 to 287 (74.3 percent) from two-point range.
Since the start of last season, Arizona owns the nation’s best 2-point field goal percentage defense (.417), while Creighton is seventh (.435).
• All five Creighton starters are averaging 11.5 points per game, a good sign since the Jays have won 26 straight games when five men average 10+ points.
Last season was the first time since 1964-65 that five Bluejays finished the season in double digits on average.
• Creighton had eight dunks against Arkansas on Tuesday and now has 29 this season. Six of the slams came off Ryan Kalkbrennerwhile Arthur Kaluma and Ryan Nembhard everyone had one.
Kalkbrenner leads the club with 17 dunks this year.
• Victory on Monday was Greg McDermott‘s 562nd of his career as head coach. This ranks him 20th among active coaches and more than any other coach at the 2022 Maui Jim Maui Invitational.
Tuesday’s win marks the first time he can say more than half of his career wins have come at Creighton, as it was his 282nd on the Bluejay touchline.
• Creighton, as a ranked team, are 5-0 all-time when playing against a Pac-12 conference team.
No. 14 Creighton beat Arizona State on November 24, 2012 (87-73 in Las Vegas, Nevada).
No. 16 Creighton defeated California on December 15, 2012 (74-64 in Berkeley, California).
No. 20 Creighton beat Arizona State on November 28, 2013 (88-60 in Fullerton, California).
No. 22 Creighton defeated Washington State on November 18, 2016 (103-77 in the US Virgin Islands).
No. 9 Creighton beat Arizona State on December 20, 2016 (96-85 at Tempe).
• Creighton had three men who scored 20 or more points in Tuesday’s win Ryan Nembhard (25), Ryan Kalkbrenner (21) and Trey Alexander (20) all made it.
It was the first time three men in Creighton scored 20 points in the same game since Doug McDermott (31), Antoine Young (22) and Josh Jones (21) faced Davidson in a CBI contest on March 21, 2011.
• Creighton is targeting its first 7-0 start since the start of the 2016-17 season with a 13-0 record. Creighton also started 2011-12, 7-0 under Greg McDermott.
• Creighton is the only school in the country with multiple top-25 wins this winter in both men’s and women’s basketball. The 16th-ranked Bluejay women, coached by former CU basketball walk-on Jim Flanery, are 5-0 with top-25 wins over No. 23 South Dakota State and No. 22 Nebraska. Flanery coached the team to their first Elite Eight last March.
These aren’t the only successful programs on campus, as the men’s soccer team plays Saturday night in Tulsa (on ESPN+) at the Sweet 16, while the women’s volleyball team ranked 15th and hosts their ninth straight BIG EAST regular-season title won the BIG EAST tournament starting later today in Omaha.
• Improved last night Greg McDermott‘s Division I teams to 76-4 all-time when they score 90 or more points.
His Northern Iowa teams went over 90 points just twice in 153 games from 2001-06 and four times total in 127 contests from 2006-10 at Iowa State.
At Creighton, McDermott’s charges have scored 90 or more points 74 times in 419 games. The only teams with more 90-point games since the start of the 2010-11 season are Gonzaga (115), North Carolina (96), BYU (81), Belmont (79), Duke (78), and Marshall (75). Arizona ranks ninth on this list (70).
• Ryan Nembhard had a career-high 25 points and added six rebounds and five assists against Arkansas on Tuesday.
Since Greg McDermott set in 2010 had been the only Bluejays with a 20/5/5 game Ryan Nembhard (2), Ryan Hawkins (1), Mitch Ballock (1), Marcus Foster (3), Grant Gibbs (1), Doug McDermott (2), Khyri Thomas (2), Maurice Watson Jr. (2) and Marcus Zegarowski (3).
Under players with a 25/5/5 game under Greg McDermottonly Watson, Doug McDermott (2), Foster (2), Zegarowski and Hawkins had done so ahead of Nembhard yesterday.
• Creighton will look to limit a nation-leading Arizona team to over 100 points per game.
Creighton is 2-38 all-time when conceding 100 points and has been since a 103-92 loss to No. 1 Gonzaga in 2018, which came about a week after the Bulldogs won the Maui Invitational title, no longer done in regulation. Current Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd was the Zags’ assistant that year.
Last year, Creighton’s defense ranked 19th in the final KenPom rankings. This year’s team ranks 42nd defensively.
Both teams in Title Tilt have top 10 offense going through Tuesday. Arizona is third per KenPom while Creighton is eighth.
• This year’s Maui Jim Maui Invitational field includes eight programs totaling 243 NCAA tournament appearances, 36 Final Four finishes, and eight NCAA titles. Five of the eight teams were ranked, while Ohio State received votes, confirming the thought that this was one of the event’s deepest fields of all time.
• Did you know… Seven past Maui Jim Maui Invitational entrants have won the national championship after competing in Maui earlier in the season.
• After going up against three top-25 teams in 52 hours this week, Creighton won’t play again until next Thursday, but it’s an equally tough clash as it’s at 7:00pm ET at No. 4 Texas plays ESPN.