Creighton guard Josh Jones knows he might be in the minority when he says he's glad that Nebraska still plays basketball at the Devaney Center.
The Huskers will move to a new, state-of-the-art arena next season. That gives Jones one last chance to play at Devaney when No. 16 Creighton visits Thursday to face Nebraska.
“Every time I go down there,” Jones said, “it brings back good memories.”
Jones played at Devaney all four years with Omaha Central. The last three, he left the building as a state champion.
“It's always nice to play at Nebraska because that's kind of where my legacy started,” Jones said. “The way I performed down there kind of made me who I am.
“I always enjoy going back down there, whether it's to watch games or to play there. It would be cool to see their new facility, but all I know is the Devaney. I want to have one more moment there.”
Jones had one of his best games at Devaney as a junior for the Eagles. He had 28 points, four assists and four steals in Central's overtime victory against Bellevue West in the Class A championship game.
Jones hopes this trip to Lincoln will allow him to secure something that has eluded him as a collegian. Creighton hasn't won at Devaney since 2004.
As a redshirt in 2008, Jones watched the Huskers pull out a 54-52 victory. In 2010, Jones failed to score as the Bluejays squandered an eight-point halftime lead in losing 59-54.
This will be Creighton's first true road game this season. The Bluejays won a pair of neutral-court games against Wisconsin and Arizona State in the Las Vegas Invitational.
“Any time you go on the road is huge,” Jones said. “Going into Nebraska, we're going to prepare like they're a tough team to play. I don't care who you are, winning on the road is huge.
“We need to go down there and get this task done. This is my last time playing against Nebraska, and I want to come out of there with a victory.”
Jones is well versed on the rivalry of this game. This season has an added twist as his former Central teammate, Deverell Biggs, is a Husker. Biggs, a junior college All-American last season, is redshirting this year.
“He's my good buddy and old pal,” Jones said. “It's all love between us, but we definitely want to see whose team is better. It's about bragging rights and trash-talking.
“He's always told me he wished he could guard me one time before I graduate, but that's not going to happen.”
Jones comes into the Nebraska game searching for his shot. A career 38.6 percent shooter from 3-point range, the 6-foot-2 guard has made 32.3 percent in Creighton's first eight games.
If you subtract his 4-of-6 performance in leading the Bluejays' come-from-behind win against UAB, Jones is shooting 24 percent (6 of 25) from long range.
Coach Greg McDermott isn't overly concerned with the lack of accuracy from Jones and Jahenns Manigat so far. Manigat, who shot 49.2 percent from 3-point range in Missouri Valley Conference games and 46.8 percent overall last season, is 10 of 30 this season.
“It's still a small sample size,” McDermott said. “Josh was shooting 31 percent at this point last season. Jahenns got off to a better start last year, but he's battled some injuries problems this year that has limited his ability to get in and get shots up.
“They'll be OK, but they do need to get some shots up on their own outside of practice.”
Jones heard that message loud and clear when McDermott met with him, Manigat and Avery Dingman after practice Monday.
“All shooters go through a slump at some point in the season,” Jones said. “I'm not satisfied with my outside shooting, but I know I'm going to put in the work and it's going to pay off.”
Contact the writer:
402-679-2298, email@example.com, twitter.com/PivOWH