Saturday , Nov , 18 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Bluejays fly into Lincoln

Lincoln, Nebraska (Sports Network) – Intrastate rivals clash tonight as the
Nebraska Cornhuskers play host to the Creighton Bluejays in non-conference

Creighton won its opener over Mississippi Valley State on Monday by a 78-42
margin. The Bluejays return nine lettermen and four starters from last
season’s team that finished 20-10, so they are once again expected to
challenge for supremacy in the Missouri Valley Conference.

As for Nebraska, it opened this new campaign with a 76-62 triumph over
Nebraska-Omaha. Last season, the Cornhuskers reached the semifinal round of
the Big 12 Tournament for the first time since 1998, and they went on to
participate in the postseason NIT. The two top scorers from that squad are
gone, however, and Doc Sadler is in his first season as the new leader of the

Nebraska owns a 22-17 advantage in the all-time series with Creighton, but
the Bluejays have won the last seven regular season meetings.

Creighton only connected on 39.4 percent of its field goal attempts in the
season opener against Mississippi Valley State, but the Bluejays were able to
force 23 turnovers and limit the Delta Devils to 30.8 percent shooting from
the floor. Also key for Creighton was a 24-8 edge in points from the foul
line, as well as a 48-38 rebounding advantage. Anthony Tolliver and Nick
Porter tallied 14 points apiece for the Blue Jays, who also got 13 points from
Nate Funk. Isacc Miles contributed 10 points to round out the double-digit
scorers. Funk is the Preseason Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year,
as he is coming off an injury-plagued 2005-06 campaign in which he
participated in only six games. Funk appears to be healthy and poised to
return to the level that saw him average 17.8 ppg two seasons ago. The
Bluejays have made nine straight postseason appearances, and a win over a Big
12 opponent on the road tonight will certainly be looked upon favorably
come selection time.

Last season, Nebraska center Alex Maric was an Honorable Mention All-Big 12
selection. If the opener against Nebraska-Omaha is any indication, Maric is
ready to take his game to the next level. Maric racked up 29 points and 10
rebounds in that contest, as he was clearly the best player on the floor. The
double-double was the 14th of his career, and he has the size at 6-11 to
attract some serious NBA attention. Jamel White was solid as well in the win,
as the sophomore tallied 18 points. Freshman Ryan Anderson looked like
anything but a rookie, finishing with nine points and 11 boards. Defensively,
Nebraska limited its overmatched opponent to 18 field goals and 36 percent
shooting from the floor.