Trey Alexander scores 20 to lead No. 8 Creighton in 105-54 rout of Florida A&M
Tue, Nov 7, 2023
NCAAB News (AP)
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Creighton's motto under Greg McDermott has always been "Let It Fly."
Did the Bluejays ever in their opener against overmatched Florida A&M on Tuesday night.
The Rattlers chose to clog the middle and limit All-Big East center Ryan Kalkbrenner's offensive opportunities, and the Bluejays made them pay in a 105-54 rout.
Creighton hit 18 3-pointers - more than in all but one game during its NCAA Elite Eight season in 2022-23 - and nine players had at least one assist in as polished an opening performance as McDermott has seen in his 14 seasons.
"The unselfish core of this team was really on display tonight," he said.
Trey Alexander scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half, and the starters were done for the night eight minutes into the second half.
Steven Ashworth, a Utah State transfer who shot 43.4% on 3s to rank sixth nationally last season, made 5 of 7 from distance and finished with 17 points. Baylor Scheierman was 3 of 8 on 3s and had 15 points. Virginia transfer Isaac Traudt was 3 of 8 on 3s from off the bench and had 12 points.
"The unselfishness, I'd like to tell you that's coaching," McDermott said. "We have unselfish guys, almost to a fault. Early we turned down some shots we didn't need to turn down to make an extra pass."
Creighton had turnovers on its first two possessions and Scheierman hit the side of the backboard with a shot before Ashworth's 3-pointer and Alexander's layin started a 22-4 run.
Creighton was up by as many as 32 points in the first half and 56-27 at the break.
Alexander was 7 of 8 from the field and had five assists and four turnovers in a team-high 26 minutes.
"At the beginning of the game I kind of saw some coverages I hadn't seen before, but I was able to get downhill pretty early and shots were falling, which is always a plus," Alexander said.
Keith Lamar had 16 points to lead the Rattlers, who lost four of their top five scorers from last season.
Mason Miller and Ashworth made their first starts for Creighton. Miller took over at power forward for Arthur Kaluma, who transferred to Kansas State, and Ashworth replaced point guard Ryan Nembhard, who transferred to Gonzaga.
Kalkbrenner had a quiet opener. Shannon Grant, the Rattlers' 6-foot-10, 300-pounder, was assigned to Kalkbrenner and held him in check early. Kalkbrenner took only three shots in the first half and five for the game. He had nine points and four rebounds.
"If they're going to plug it up, and they're going to go double it, then we're going to go get 38 3-point shots," McDermott said. "Teams like Florida A&M, they don't necessarily have a guy who can match up with him one-on-one. They provided him some help. If they're going to do that, then we're going to cast up some 3s, and we're pretty confident in our ability to shoot it."
Florida A&M: The Rattlers, picked 11th in the 12-team SWAC after going 7-22 last season, take their lumps for a paycheck this time of year. They play seven Power Five opponents on the road before New Year's.
Creighton: Ten players suited up because of injuries and redshirt decisions. All of them scored.
Florida A&M: visits Nebraska on Thursday.
Creighton: hosts North Dakota State on Saturday.
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