Creighton Men beat 9th ranked Arkansas to advance to Maui Invitational Championship

Creighton Men beat 9th ranked Arkansas to advance to Maui Invitational Championship
November 22nd, 2022 |

MAUI, Hawaii — No. 10 Creighton improved to 6-0 with a 90-87 win over No. 9 Arkansas in the second round of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Combined with Monday’s win over No. 21, it’s the first time in program history that Creighton has beaten ranked teams on consecutive days.

The Bluejays will play for the Maui Jim Maui Invitational title on Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Jays will face No. 14 Arizona.

Ryan Nembhard had a career-high 25 points to lead three Bluejays with 20 points or more, as Ryan Kalkbrenner had 21 and Baylor Scheierman finished with 20. It marks the first time the Bluejays have had three men with 20+ points since March 21, 2011 vs. Davidson.

Creighton made four three-pointers in the first eight minutes to take an early 19-10 lead.  Nembhard made his first three attempts, while Scheierman converted CU’s first four-point play of the season.

Creighton remained in the lead, but pulled away with a 10-2 run after Arkansas had drawn within two at 26-24 to extend its lead to 36-26 with four minutes with three minutes left in the first half. Arkansas would score the final six points before the intermission to slice Creighton’s deficit in half to 40-34.

Nembhard (13), Scheierman (11) and Kalkbrenner (10) led the Bluejays in the first half, while Anthony Black paced all scorers with 14 for the Razorbacks.

The Razorbacks took their first lead at 46-45 and from there it was a bloodbath as neither team break free as the physicality increased. The Jays took a 70-64 lead thanks to a 7-0 run in 70 seconds. Nembhard made two free throws, Arthur Kaluma threw down a dunk and Scheierman drained a deep three-pointer with 7:52 remaining. Arkansas scored the next five to draw within one but missed a free throw to tie it with 5:16 left.

Back-to-back treys by Tevon Brazile tied the game at 79 with 2:22 left, but Kaluma gave CU the lead back with a tip-in with 1:45 left. CU went ahead on a reverse slam by Kalkbrenner with 1:01 left and Arkansas missed a go-ahead three-pointer. Trey Alexander was fouled with 37.7 left and sank both to give CU an 85-81 advantage.

Arkansas’ Anthony Black got fouled with 29.4 left and made the first one before a lane violation on the Razorbacks negated the second attempt. CU missed two free throws with 26.9 left and fouled Davonte Davis, who sank his first two attempts of the day with 18.8 remaining.

After a Bluejay timeout the Razorbacks fouled Scheierman with 16.1 left. He made both. Arkansas guard Ricky Council IV missed an open three-pointer from the corner that could have tied it and Nembhard was fouled with 7.8 left. He made both to give CU an 88-84 lead.. The Razorbacks pushed it upcourt and Black made a three-pointer with 2.3 left.  Alexander was fouled with 1.9 left and sank both.

Black had 26 and Council 24 for the Hogs.

More to come…

Maui Jim Maui Invitational

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Maui, Hawaii, USA

Lahaina Civic Center

Creighton Bluejays

Greg McDermott

Baylor Scheierman

Ryan Nembhard

Postgame Press Conference

Creighton – 90, Arkansas – 87

THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead and get started with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student-athletes.

GREG MCDERMOTT: It was just an incredible college basketball game. There was a lot of haymakers thrown out there in 40 minutes. Their poise for as young as they are is really incredible. We didn’t go very deep on the bench tonight, or this afternoon. I felt like we kind of had to ride these guys and they did a great job.

Some execution down the stretch to get Kalkbrenner some touches for some easy baskets, and then we executed at least the last play defensively the way we wanted.

But that team’s winning a lot of games. I would like to think we’re going to win a lot of games. They just kind of ran out of time. It was just an awesome basketball game against a very, very good opponent.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Questions for our student-athletes?

Q. It was a great game tonight. What was your impression of Arkansas? What did they surprise you when you got on the court playing against them?

RYAN NEMBHARD: Yeah, they’re a great team. They got a lot of length. They’re big. They got a lot of size. They play really hard. They try and turn you over. They’re just a good young team. It was a great matchup.

Q. Baylor, early in the second half you weren’t as active, but you kind of picked up later in the half and started to assert your game. What kind of adjustments, what were they doing to you early in the half?

BAYLOR SCHEIERMAN: Well, they put No. 4 on me and he was kind of following me everywhere. Sometimes spacing can be the best friend there. Kind of just picking and choosing my spots. Obviously as the half went on I pick and choose where I wanted to get the ball.

But I got confidence in my teammates that they can make plays. When they’re dogging me like that, it leaves other people open.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Go get some rest for tomorrow’s game. Thank you. We’ll take questions for coach.

Q. You mentioned that you shortened your bench today. How much concern is that when you got to play three in three days and tomorrow is not even a 24-hour turnaround?

GREG MCDERMOTT: Yeah, well, I mean, the team that we’re going to play has got two hours less than us, so they’re going to be in the same boat.

We had to battle a little foul trouble, Kaluma in the first half, and we survived it, and then Trey Alexander got his third with 13 and a half to go. I thought Farabello came in and did a great job in that situation, hit a big three at a critical time.

So you’re playing tomorrow really on adrenaline. It’s three games in a short period of time and you don’t ever do this except for your conference tournament. But we’re going to be a little tired tomorrow, but hopefully our energy and enthusiasm for being in the championship can trump some of that fatigue.

Q. You mentioned coming into the tournament, I think you had been waiting like 34 years to get a team out here. Now that you’ve been here a couple days and experienced this kind of game, tomorrow’s championship notwithstanding, is this the experience you wanted when you brought a team here?

GREG MCDERMOTT: Absolutely. I mean, the hospitality since we’ve arrived on the island and in our hotel has been incredible. Think about it. Will you have a better college environment than what we had today? You had half the gym full of Arkansas fans and half full of Creighton fans and it’s in a place where it’s really loud and it impacts the game. Usually you’re playing at home, on the road, whatever.

But there was so many changes in momentum during that game that both fan bases really were into the game and on the edge of their seat the whole time. This is a game that our guys are going to look back on it a long time and remember because it was such an incredible environment. You couldn’t communicate with your team when Arkansas was on a run and I think they probably had a hard time communicating when we were on a run because the fans were really into it.

Q. In tough games like this, what does it mean to have someone like Ryan running the show for you? What does he give you?

GREG MCDERMOTT: He’s just grown so much. He really, he dictates our tempo with his speed with the basketball. Obviously, his shooting’s been really good in this tournament. I don’t know what it is now, he’s got 30-some assists and five or six turnovers on the year.

Last year at this time he struggled with some turnovers. So I think he just, he’s got a better feel for what we’re asking him to do, and that’s been good to see. But he plays with a lot of confidence. I think his teammates really respect him, so they look him in the eye in the huddle and listen to what he has to say.

But he’s mature beyond his years. He doesn’t think like a guy that’s playing in the fifth or sixth game of his sophomore season in college. I think his dad being a basketball person, his brother’s obviously with the Pacers, he’s been around it and fighting to keep up with his brother his whole life, and now he’s really blazing his own trail. It’s been fun to see because as good a basketball player as he is, he’s even a better person. He’s just such a joy to coach. He’s about all the right stuff. I think when you’re about the right stuff good things have a tendency to happen to you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
127408-1-1044 2022-11-23 03:31:00 GMT

Maui Jim Maui Invitational

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Maui, Hawaii, USA

Lahaina Civic Center

Arkansas Razorbacks

Eric Musselman

Ricky Council IV

Postgame Press Conference

Creighton – 90, Arkansas – 87

THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead and get started with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student-athletes.

ERIC MUSSELMAN: Give Creighton a lot of credit tonight, and then our guys played really hard.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Ricky?

Q. I was wondering if you could talk about the atmosphere in the gym tonight and what was it like to be a part of that?

RICKY COUNCIL IV: It’s an amazing experience, dream come true. I watched it as a kid. Just glad we got the opportunity to play in it. Came up a little short today, but we’ll bounce back tomorrow.

Q. Was there anything about the Creighton team that surprised you when you got on the court versus what you saw on film?

RICKY COUNCIL IV: No. Coach had it to a T. Just had some big slipups in the first half. I take a large part of responsibility on that. Second half we played much better. We just came up short.

THE MODERATOR: All right. Thank you. We’ll let you go. We’ll take questions for coach.

Q. So soon after a tough loss like that, can you appreciate how good of a game that was both ways?

ERIC MUSSELMAN: Yeah, it was a good game. It was a great game. It was a great game.

Q. You’re a great defensive team. They shot around 50 percent from the three. What were some of the things they were doing to get those looks? What are some of the things that you would like to clean up?

ERIC MUSSELMAN: We got in a little bit of foul trouble, so, you know, our defense, whatever, we lost by three points and we’re not, offensively we were really good tonight. So we scored 53 points in the second half. So they’re a really good offensive team. But we turned it, you know, it ended up being a high-scoring game.


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