ESPN Events: Creighton

GWU, Creighton in consolation game

November, 30, 2013
11/30/13
11:14
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ANAHEIM, Calif., November 30 - In matchup between a developing East Coast team and a prominent, nationally-ranked Midwestern team, George Washington will face off against Creighton Sunday in Honda Center during the final day of the 2013 DIRECTV Wooden Legacy. The game between two teams with 1-1 records in the tournament will tip off at 3:30 p.m. (PT) and be televised on ESPNU.

Both teams won their Thursday opening-round games and both lost in the semifinals Friday during the first two days of the eight-team tournament which were played in Titan Gym on the campus of Cal State Fullerton.

In the tournament opener, George Washington, with Mike Lonergan in his third season as head coach of the Colonials, came from 19 points down in the second half to force overtime and eventually defeat Miami, 71-63. On Friday, George Washington was overpowered by No. 25-ranked Marquette 76-60. In Creighton, George Washington will face its second straight nationally ranked opponent.

For Creighton, under the direction of fourth-year head coach Greg McDermott, and ranked No. 18/20 in the polls, Thursday saw the Blue Jays play to near perfection in crushing a very good Arizona State team 88-60 and on Friday, Creighton was upset by unranked, but very talented San Diego State, 86-80.

Leading George Washington, 5-1 so far this season with all five starters back from last season’s 13-17 team, has been four players all averaging in double figures. Leading the way for the Colonials has been 6-5 grad student Maurice Creek, a guard, with a 14.5 points per game average followed by 6-3 sophomore guard Kethan Savage (13.5 ppg), 6-1 sophomore guard Joe McDonald (11 ppg), and 6-9 senior Isaiah Armwood (10.5 ppg and 8.0 rebounds per game).

As a team, George Washington is averaging 65.5 points per game in the tournament while allowing 69.5 ppg and the Colonials have the most blocked shots in the tournament with 7.0 per game and they are tied for first with Cal State Fullerton with 5.5 steals per game.

Creighton, who switched to the Big East conference this year after being a long-time member of the Missouri Valley Conference, is also 5-1 this season following last year’s 28-8 record and continues to be led by one of the best players in the nation in 6-8 senior forward Doug McDermott who is leading the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy averaging a near-record 28.5 points per game which includes being 13 of 14 from the free throw line for a .929 percentage and a 5.0 rebounds per game average.

Joining McDermott in double figures for the first two games has been 6-2 junior guard Devin Brooks (16.0 ppg) and 6-7 senior forward Ethan Wragge (10.5 ppg).

As a team Creighton is leading the tournament with an 84.0 points per game average and is second as a team in field goal percentage at .508 percent. In their first time playing in the seven-year old tournament, this will also be the first meeting between George Washington and Creighton.

McDermott ready to shine at Wooden

November, 25, 2013
11/25/13
8:35
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When you step onto the court averaging 27.5 points a game, coaches know you’re the guy to stop. Welcome to Doug McDermott’s world.

Creighton’s consensus All-American is always a big part of the opposing team’s scouting report, and the 6-8 senior forward has gotten used to all the attention.

In a recent 83-79 victory over Saint Joseph’s University, the Hawks made the Ames, IA, native work for everything, allowing 20 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field.

“It’s frustrating, but you have to be patient,” McDermott said following the win over the Hawks. “Saint Joseph’s did a really good job on me. They pushed me away from the basket. You have to give them a lot of credit. We just have to be patient. I’m sure I’m going to see it a lot this year.”

McDermott, who is averaging 8.0 rebounds per game, has continued to adjust. Coming off a game-high 33 points and 15 rebounds in an 82-72 win over Tulsa, McDermott is looking forward to leading Creighton (4-0) over Arizona State (5-0) in the DIRECTV Wooden Legacy on Dec. 1 in Fullerton, Calif.

“It’s great to get these games early in the year,” said McDermott of the early season tournament. “We know what we’re going to face in the Big East,” he continued, adding that non-conference games will help Creighton compete in conference play. “[The Wooden Legacy will be] a good test. It gives us a lot of confidence going forward.”

From Puerto Rico to Anaheim, notes abound ...

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
7:06
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Veteran reporter Tim Simmons is man of notes ... he's also a man of frequent flyer miles. Between airport stops, he filed a quick notes package on the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and the Wooden Legacy, two of ESPN Events' early season tournaments to which he's assigned. Got an idea for Simmons? Email him at BFISHINC@aol.com.

"10" FOR TOUGHNESS: Will Long Beach State face formidable opponents in its non-conference schedule this season? Without a doubt, maintains ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf, who rated the 49ers’ non-conference schedule a “10” on the “Toughness Scale.” Medcalf writes that the program “will face national title contender Arizona on the road in early November.” The 49ers open the Puerto Rico Tip-Off with a matchup against Michigan, another national title contender. The tourney also includes VCU and Georgetown. Big East title favorite Creighton travels to the West Coast for a matchup in early December. The slate ends with a matchup against Missouri in Columbia. Now that's a non-conference schedule.

HIGH HOPES FOR VCU: Which teams have the most to prove this season? VCU is in the top 10, according to ESPN's Eamonn Brennan. “Word out of Richmond is that this may well be Shaka Smart’s most talented team,” wrote Brennan about the Rams, which will be competing in the 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

SEMINOLE STANDOUT: The Sporting News lavished high praise on Florida State senior Okaro White, who was featured in the publication’s college basketball preview. White, who was featured on the cover of the magazine, is “precisely the sort of player head coach Leonard Hamilton has relied upon to build the Seminoles’ program: rangy, athletic, and willing to defend and block shots, all while steadily improving his polish,” noted the editors. “His ability to punish opponents inside and occasionally on the perimeter ensures that he’ll be a centerpiece as a senior.”

100 YEARS OF BASKETBALL IN PUERTO RICO: Led by Northeastern great Jose Juan Barea, Puerto Rico’s national team finished second in the 2013 FIVB Americas Championships in Caracas, Venezuela. Barea, the Northeastern standout from 2002-2006 who is coming off a career year with the Minnesota Timberwolves, led Puerto Rico to the championship game Sept. 11 in the 2013 FIVB Americas Championships in Caracas, Venezuela. Barea, who has scored 140 points and 38 assists in helping Puerto Rico to a 6-3 record in the tournament, dropped a 91-89 decision to Mexico in the finals after advancing to the finals with a 79-67 win over the Dominican Republic. By advancing to the “final four”, Puerto Rico earned a spot in the 2014 World Cup in Spain.

BUILDING A "LEGACY": Led by Doug McDermott of Creighton and Jahii Carson of Arizona State, SportingNews.com highlighted several players and teams that will be participating in the 2013 Wooden Legacy. McDermott was named a first-team pre-season All-American while Carson was named to the second-team. The site noted that McDermott “will be everyone’s preseason Big East Player of the Year." Carson deserves the honor. Some might initially question his ability to produce eye-popping numbers outside of the Missouri Valley Conference, but those questions won’t last long.

As for the top players by position, Marquette’s four players scheduled to compete in the 2013 Wooden Legacy were listed. In addition to McDermott (the top power forward) and Carson (the No. 4 point guard), Marquette’s Jamil Wilson and Davante Gardner were the 10th-rated power forward and center, respectively. San Diego State senior Xavier Thames was featured on the publication’s regional inset. The Sporting News ranked Thamas as “one of the Mountain West’s top-10 players and senior classmate Josh Davis as one of the league’s top-10 newcomers. Coach Steve Fisher, who is considered one of the conference’s top-5 coaches, also brings in the 66th-best recruiting class nationally. Fisher’s incoming class is two deep and ranks 10th nationally among groups featuring two players or less.”

CHARLESTON CHALLENGE: The 2013-'14 Charleston schedule features a season-opening game at Louisville and three games at the Wooden Legacy. Eight other opponents advanced to postseason play a year ago, including San Diego State (Charleston’s first-round Wooden Legacy foe). The Cougars will play either Arizona State or Creighton in their second Wooden Legacy game. “It is a great schedule, especially when you have the defending national champions on the road in Louisville and the defending ACC champions at home in Miami [also a possible Wooden Legacy foe on Dec. 1],” said coach Doug Wojcik. “We will also be tested early with tournament games out in Anaheim with San Diego State and Creighton or Arizona State in the next game as well as Marquette and Miami on the other side of the bracket.”

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