Published Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 12:01 am / Updated at 1:20 am
BASKETBALL
Notes: Echenique shows off his guard skills

Creighton center Gregory Echenique turned in another dominant performance inside Tuesday night.

Echenique made 5 of 7 shots in scoring a season-high 17 points. He grabbed four rebounds. He blocked two shots and changed the flight of countless others.

The 6-foot-9 Echenique also had two assists, showcasing some athleticism on the first one that produced an Ethan Wragge 3-point basket late in the first half.

The 260-pound Echenique found himself with the ball in an unfamiliar spot — taking a pass near the top of the key. Instead of giving it up, he made a couple of dribbles through the lane, sidestepped a defender and went airborne to deliver an on-target pass to Wragge in the corner.

“I'd like to think that I'm not a stiff,” Echenique said with a chuckle. “I don't usually do that a lot — that's why we have point guards. But if it needs to happen, and I have to take like three dribbles, I think I can do that.

“It was fun. It's something that doesn't happen all the time and Ethan did his job, made the shot and got me the assist. It all worked out.”

Run propels Bluejays

Longwood, which had dropped a 112-63 decision to Arkansas on Sunday, found itself within 10 points of the country's No. 14 team with eight minutes to play in Tuesday's first half.

Creighton outscored the Lancers 28-9 to turn a 25-15 lead into a 53-24 bulge at halftime. The Bluejays opened the spurt with a 12-0 run that included seven points by Austin Chatman.

Doug McDermott, who missed his first four shots, made his next five, including three in the final 2:12 of the half. His tip-in at the buzzer gave his team the 29-point halftime lead.

“We always have that ability to go on runs,” Creighton guard Grant Gibbs said. “We were a little stagnant there at first but we stuck with the game plan, got good shots and turned it on.”

Short night for Kessens

Longwood had trouble guarding the Bluejays but the Lancers also had difficulty in keeping from fouling. They were called for 28 and lost two players — Michael Kessens and Jeff Havenstein — to five fouls.

Kessens came into the game leading Longwood in scoring (15.3 points) and rebounding (10.3). The 6-9 freshman, a native of Switzerland, was no match for Echenique.

Kessens had three fouls in the first 13:19, picked up his fourth with 4:24 left in the half and left for good after drawing his fifth just 1:17 into the second half.

“He really didn't get to play in the game, and what else can you say?” Longwood coach Mike Gillian said. “The reality is that there are many factors when you go on the road and play these games.

“Mike Kessens is an inexperienced college player and he's new to the country. He's been off to a good start but he didn't get to play in the game. And I didn't take him out. I would have left him out there. Going head-to-head against these guys here would have been great for him.”

Creighton, which made 28 of 38 free throws, was called for 16 fouls by the officiating crew of Kelly Self, John Higgins and Paul Janssen.

Reserves make points

Mogboluwaga Oginni scored his first points as a Bluejay, getting two baskets in the late going. In the previous win over Presbyterian, Alex Olsen got his first two baskets of his college career.

The two redshirt freshmen, along with junior Taylor Stormberg and senior Joe Kelling, spend most of their time in practice on the scout squad.

“I'm proud of that last group — Alex Olsen, Taylor, Joe and Mo — because they bring it every day in practice,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “They didn't stop playing when they got out there. They continued to compete on both ends of the court.”

Kelling, who joined the team as a walk-on this year after not playing basketball the past three seasons, almost got his first points. He was fouled on a drive to the basket, with the shot barely rimming out. He then missed the free throws but did finish with three assists.

Bits and pieces

Creighton reserve forward Ethan Wragge has outscored the reserves of the Bluejays' first four opponents this season 47-43. Wragge had 13 points against Longwood and has made 13 of his last 19 3-point attempts . ... Creighton is 7-0 when scoring 100 or more points at the CenturyLink Center. ... Echenique had a string of 10 straight field goals snapped when he missed early in the game. He had come into the game 12 of 13 from the field and is now shooting 85 percent (17 of 20).

Contact the writer:

402-679-2298, steve.pivovar@owh.com, twitter.com/PivOWH

Contact the writer: Steven Pivovar

stevepivovar@hotmail.com    |   402-679-2298    |  

Steven Pivovar is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and primarily covers Creighton athletics and the College World Series.

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