Creighton University's men's basketball team is in town for a stint of games, and dropped their first game against Australia's Centre of Excellence (CoE), 79-66 victory in Sydney today. Despite Creighton's 2-point lead at the half, CoE put together a strong second half, outscoring the Bluejays 44-29 to put the game away.
Melbourne centre Jacob Epperson did not suit up for Creighton this game, as he continues to recover from injury, following knee surgery. The Bluejays were led by scoring guard Mitch Ballock, who had 20 points (8/15 FG, 4/10 3P) along with 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 36 minutes of play.
Victorian forward Joshua Bannan led the team in scoring, stepping up with 13 points (4/8 FG, 2/5 3P, 3/5 FT). Other notable mentions include Egyptian big man Aly Khalifa (10 points, 5 rebounds) and 6'8 Queenslander forward Blake Jones (11 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist).
Three players that drew attention at the game however, were Mojave King, Josh Giddey and Tamuri Wigness. Fox Sports Australia's Olgun Uluc, who attended the game, was very complimentary of the trio's on-court impact.
Giddey had an impressive stat line for the night. The 6'7 guard recorded 7 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal in 16 mins, along with a team-high +/- of +24. His poise and lack of turnovers was impressive, when the team had 21 TOs for the night, versus Creighton's 15. According to Uluc, Giddey played with a lot more control, and made much sharper decisions.
King showed off his athletic prowess once again. Despite the outside shot not falling (1/3 3PT), the 6'4 forward managed 9 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal in 20 mins of play.
Wigness had a team-high 5 turnovers (tied with Taran Armstrong), but showed his strength off, along with some solid passes. The Torres Strait Islander guard, who grew up in Cairns, ended the game with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 steals in 24 mins.
Full box score available on Statbroadcast.
The Creighton Bluejays play the NBL's Cairns Taipans next, 8 August 2019 8:30 pm at the Cairns Convention Centre.