The U.N.I. men’s basketball team hits the road to take on Missouri Valley Conference favorite Creighton tonight. Panther coach Ben Jacobson says that the Bluejays will be the best team that U.N.I. has faced so far.
Creighton is led by former U.N.I. recruit Doug McDermott, who enters tonight’s game as the nation’s second leading scorer coming off of a career high 44 points against Bradley over the weekend.
Jacobson says that McDermott has really stepped his game up in his sophomore season. “He’s improved a great deal…he spends a lot of time working to improve and get better and it’s showing up in his play,” Jacobson says. He says McDermott has a lot of help as the rest of the team is really good.
Jacobson says the biggest improvement in McDermott’s play is in his ability to score on the perimeter. “He’s shooting the ball at a higher rate from the three-point line, he’s taking more three-point shots and he’s shooting more on the move now…and his scoring numbers are better in large part because he’s better at the three-point-line,” Jacobson says.
But Jacobson says that McDermott is far from the only player that the Panthers will have to pay attention too. He says their center is a handful and they have a point guard who can drive or make jump shots and provides a lot of versatility to go with four other guys who can shoot the ball.
Jacobson says he’s not sure there’s any magic formula to slowing down the Bluejays, but that he has a plan in place and the Panthers will see how it works out. “That’s the million dollar question I think for everybody, which way do you go…you’ve got to make the decision to either stop him to the level that you can, or you let him get some points and try to stop the other guys.”
Creighton coach Greg McDermott says the Panthers have turned things aroun after opening Valley play with two losses. He says they are flying around defensively and look like a different team.
Tonight’s game tips off at eight o’clock.
By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls