Saturday, November 15, 2014

Creighton rolls in first post-Doug McDermott game to open 2014-15 regular season

OMAHA, Neb. -- Rick Kreklow had a career-high 18 points to lead six men in double-figures as Creighton Men's Basketball won its 20th straight home opener, 104-77, over Central Arkansas on Friday night.

The game was played before 18,160 fans, the largest crowd in school history for an opener.

The Bluejays held UCA without a field goal for the first six minutes, quickly building an 14-1 lead at the start. Creighton never trailed, the eighth time in the last 15 years CU has led wire-to-wire in its opener.

The Jays led 55-34 at the half and extended the lead to as much as 38 (80-42) before a late flurry of baskets by the visiting Bears, who were playing their first game under new head coach Russ Pennell and returned just one player from last year's eight-win team.

In addition to Kreklow's 18 points, Isaiah Zierden poured in a career-best 16 points in his first game since tearing a patellar tendon in his knee last March. James Milliken debuted with 13 points, Devin Brooks had 12 and Austin Chatman added 10 points. In addition, Will Artino had 14 points and 10 rebounds in 17 minutes for his second career double-double.

Creighton shot 48.6 percent from the field, 9-of-26 from three-point range and 25-of-30 at the line. The Jays won the rebound battle 45-28 and outscored UCA 46-22 in the paint.

Boo Milligan had 18 points and seven rebounds before fouling out, while Jordan Howard had 11 of his game-high 19 points after halftime. UCA shot 46.4 percent from the field, including 45.8 percent from three-point range, and also sank 14-of-20 free throws.

Creighton returns to action on Sunday at 4:30 pm for a game vs. Chicago State (0-1). The contest will be televised and air nationally on FOX Sports 1.

NOTES: Each of Creighton's last six teams to score 90 or more points in the season-opener went on to the NCAA Tournament ... Creighton has won 31 straight home games against winless teams ... Creighton is now 45-0 all-time in regular-season home games played on or before Nov. 26th ... Creighton improved to 82-15 all-time on Opening Day, including 17 wins in its last 18 lid-lifters ... Greg McDermott has won 13 straight season-openers ... Before Rick Kreklow, the last Bluejay with 18 points or more in his debut was P'Allen Stinnett's 23 in 2007. Stinnett went on to win MVC Freshman of the Year honors ... Toby Hegner joined Ryan Sears (1997-98) and Doug McDermott (2010-11) as the only freshmen in the last 20 years to start CU's season-opener ... Creighton hasn't trailed in 49 of its 187 all-time games at CenturyLink Center Omaha ... Creighton has not lost a Friday home game since 1975 and won every Friday home game since Dec. 2, 1989 by double-digits ... Creighton has won 19 straight home games, the nation's eighth-longest active streak. CU hasn't trailed in the second half during any of those ... Creighton has won 21 straight games when scoring 100 points or more and improved to 49-2 when doing so ... Each of Creighton's last seven teams to have a double-double in the opener went on to either win its conference in the regular-season or postseason tournament.

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