The distance between Drake's last game against Creighton and Wednesday night's meeting in Des Moines isn't great enough to erase the sting.
The Bulldogs remember the humbling 30-point defeat the Bluejays hung on them 15 days ago. Creighton jumped out to a 20-2 lead and never looked back in cruising to the victory at the CenturyLink Center.
Drake coach Mark Phelps doesn't want his team to forget the whipping the No. 17 Bluejays administered that night.
“This thing we do in college basketball also is a parallel to life,” Phelps said. “In this case, men have to be men. The first thing you have to do is self-reflect, from top to bottom, from the coaching staff to the players.
“We have to say here's what we didn't do well, and there was a lot of that, and here's how we're going to improve on that. As men, with pride, you step up and do a better job.”
That's what Creighton coach Greg McDermott is expecting from the Bulldogs, who were battling sickness while trying to fix an ailing offense when the teams met in Omaha.
“We just got off to an unbelievable start the last time and things got rolling from there,” McDermott said. “But the games we've had with them have always been competitive at the Knapp Center. I fully expect they'll be ready to go.
“We didn't exactly play our best defensively and on the backboards Saturday in Wichita. We have to clean some things up ourselves.”
Creighton is coming off just its second loss of the season, a 67-64 setback at Wichita State that left the two teams tied for the lead in the Missouri Valley. The teams will play each other in the final game of the regular season, so it's important to at least match what the other does over the next 10 league games.
In the last decade, the Bluejays are 8-2 against Drake in games played in Omaha, with the average margin of victory being 17 points. The Bluejays are 6-4 in the 10 previous games at the Knapp Center, with seven being decided by five points or fewer.
Creighton's average margin of victory in its six wins in Des Moines is eight points.
“We know we're going to have to be ready to play,” McDermott said. “Drake can be dangerous, and they have a lot of weapons with their ability to shoot the basketball.”
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McDermott has liked what he's seen from his team in the practices since the Wichita State loss. The Bluejays showed up Monday hungry to clean up the shortcomings that kept them from adding to a winning streak that Wichita State snapped at 11.
Meanwhile, Phelps was trying to get his team back on track after its second 30-point loss in four games. The Bulldogs followed their loss at Creighton by posting wins over Illinois State and Evansville before Northern Iowa hung an 85-55 defeat on them Sunday.
The Bulldogs rank among the nation's top 3-point shooting teams, averaging 8.8 3-point baskets per game (10th nationally) while shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc (18th nationally).
The 3-point accuracy has fueled almost a five-point improvement in offensive production for Drake, which is averaging 72.4 points a game. Phelps expected his revamped lineup — he brought in eight newcomers this season — would be productive.
What it hasn't been is consistent.
“In the games we haven't played well, our offense hasn't been good,” he said. “When we lose, priority No. 1 is to look at what we did on the defensive end. But there is an expectation that when the defense is not stellar, you have to keep pace on the offensive end.
“One of concerns when we haven't played well is not getting the ball in the paint, either with dribble penetration or with low-post catches. I thought we'd be better than that. We can get a little perimeter-dominant in games, and that's what we have to avoid.”
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