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Bluejays bounce back from loss

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Two days after his players turned in a
sluggish performance at Northern Iowa, Creighton coach Dana Altman
conducted an unusually rigorous practice.

Then, he got the desired result against Evansville.

Brody Deren scored 15 points and Creighton (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) extended
its school-record home winning streak to 26 games Saturday with a
72-53 victory.

The Bluejays (13-1, 5-1 Missouri Valley Conference) bounced back
after losing 82-73 at Northern Iowa on Wednesday in their first
game after getting into the Top 25.

Andre Burton had 15 points for Evansville (2-12, 1-5), which
lost its ninth straight on the road.

Including Saturday's victory, the Bluejays have won by margins
of 19, 33, 30, 14 and 37 in their last five home meetings with
Evansville.

"We knew coming after last Wednesday, we had to defend our home
court," Nate Funk said. "We definitely took a step tonight and
picked up the intensity quite a bit."

Funk said the workout helped alter the Bluejays' attitude.

"We think we can just play soft and get by and still win,"
Funk said. "We didn't play very well at UNI, and that's why we
lost. We knew we had to come out and play a lot better than that to
win a ballgame."

The Bluejays spent much of Friday's practice working on denying
passes on the wing -- UNI had made 12 3-pointers -- and on
rebounding.

Altman said he typically doesn't practice his team so hard the
day before a game.

"We had to take a day off on Thursday, so that let me simmer
for a day," he said. "We just told the guys we were going to get
back to being more aggressive."

The Purple Aces had difficulty coping with Creighton's pressure,
getting called for traveling on three of their first five
possessions. Back-to-back baskets by Joe Dabbert gave the Bluejays
a quick 11-3 lead.

"We played with a little bit more defensive intensity today,"
Altman said. "I liked the energy we played with."

Evansville coach Steve Merfeld said his team, which has eight
freshmen and sophomores, was incapable of challenging the Bluejays.

"We could see it in our kids' faces that we just didn't have it
today. Our tank was empty," Merfeld said. "Our kids tried, really
tried. But it's really the first time all year that physically we
just didn't have it."

It didn't help Evansville that Creighton came into the game
after its first loss, Merfeld said.

"It's always going to be tough here, but then you can bet that
they're going to be on top of their game following a loss like
that," Merfeld said.

Creighton limited Evansville to 40.4-percent shooting, the Aces'
second-worst outing of the season, and forced nine of their 13
turnovers after halftime.

The Bluejays' lead was in double digits midway through the first
half. After Robert Nelson pulled Evansville within 32-25, Creighton
rolled off 12 straight points over the first and second halves to
go up 44-25.

Johnny Mathies' layin with 1:12 left gave Creighton its biggest
lead, 72-49.

Mike Grimes added 13 points and Funk had 12, and guard Kellen
Miliner had 12 points and a career-high seven rebounds.

"I was proud he (Miliner) stuck his nose in there and got seven
rebounds," Altman said. "I got after him after the Northern game
because his nose was always going the wrong way. He responded.
Seven rebounds for 20 minutes from a wing spot is awfully good."

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