PHILADELPHIA — The task of trying to contain Duke guard Seth Curry in Sunday's NCAA tournament game will fall mainly on Creighton's Jahenns Manigat.
He knows all about Curry. Quick, unlimited range, brother of Manigat's favorite NBA player.
The latter isn't in the scouting report but it does add a certain twist to the matchup for Manigat. Stephen Curry scored more than 2,600 points in three seasons at Davidson, earning first-team All-America honors in 2009, and now plays for the Golden State Warriors.
“His brother is a great shooter, as was his dad,” said Manigat, referring to former NBA star Dell Curry. “I'm sure this is a story I'll tell my kids someday, but right now, we're both trying to get to the Sweet 16.
“I'm going to go out there and try to do the best job I can on him defensively. He's a good catch-and-shoot shooter, and he might be as good of a one-on-one player that there is in the country.”
Curry ranks second on his team in scoring with a 17.3 average and leads the Blue Devils with 85 3-point baskets. He's shooting 43.6 percent from 3-point range and 47.3 percent overall.
“He's a guy you definitely have to be on as soon as he gets over halfcourt,” Manigat said. “He's a guy that uses ball screens effectively, and he always seems to be in attack mode. You can't afford to relax on him.”
Which is one reason Creighton coach Greg McDermott plans to put Manigat on Curry to start the game.
“Jahenns has been our go-to guy defensively, especially when there's a guy that runs off screens like Curry,” McDermott said. “We're going to have to provide him some help, and other guys are going to have to guard him.
“It's going to take a team effort to slow him down.”
Not following Gibbs
Creighton fans are well aware that senior Grant Gibbs has a little bit of rascal in him.
It surfaced Saturday afternoon when Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski came across Gibbs, Gregory Echenique and Doug McDermott in the hallway of the Wells Fargo Center.
The coach had just finished his press conference, and he wanted the three Bluejays, who were on their way to meet with reporters, to know that he had given them plenty of respect even though he had been peppered with questions about the Florida Gulf Coast team that had upset Georgetown on Friday night.
“He said it was their (reporters) fault for asking all the questions about Gulf Coast,” Gibbs said, “and that he wanted us to know that they're not underestimating us.”
That's when the light bulb went off for Gibbs.
“I told Greg and Doug we should have ran with that when we got in there,” Gibbs said. “We should have gone in there and said, 'Coach K is not giving us any credit. Did you hear his press conference?'
“Nobody wanted to run with me on that one.”
The upset by 15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast of second-seeded Georgetown had reporters seeking out Creighton assistant coach Steve Merfeld on Saturday.
Merfeld was the coach at Hampton when it pulled off a similar shocker in 2001, upending No. 2 Iowa State in the opening round of the tournament. At the time, Hampton was the fourth No. 15 to pull off such an upset.
“What's weird is that I've been at the same building in three of the last four,” Merfeld said.
Creighton was at Greensboro, N.C., when Lehigh knocked off Duke. He had already left the Wells Fargo Center to start scouting the Blue Devils when Florida Gulf Coast pulled off its win.
“And what's weird is the other one came last year in Omaha, when Norfolk State beat Missouri,” Merfeld said. “I would have been there if we hadn't been in Greensboro.
“I guess someone that's a 15 seed needs to go wherever we go next year.”
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His Hampton team provided Merfeld with memories for the ages that always get rekindled when some other team pulls off a similar feat.
“It's an experience that no one can ever take from you,” he said. “You become a part of history.”
On Tobacco Road
Creighton forward Ethan Wragge hardly needed to be reminded that his season ended last year with a touch of controversy. North Carolina defeated the Bluejays 87-73 but lost starting point guard Kendall Marshall to a wrist injury when Wragge collided with him while trying to block a shot.
Wragge took a lot of grief from North Carolina fans after the game. Wragge tried to downplay the incident Saturday but he did laugh when a reporter who covers Duke suggested he could make the day of many a North Carolina fan if he can help the Bluejays beat the Blue Devils on Sunday.
The two schools are heated — some might say hated — rivals in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I'm not going out there tomorrow to try to get things even,” he said. “We'll just have see what happens.”
Long wait for Bluejays
Creighton learned early Saturday morning that it's game against Duke would not begin until 9:40 Philadelphia time on Sunday night. It will be the last one played in the third round of the tournament.
Greg McDermott laughed when asked if his reaction to the news could have been printed in a family newspaper.
“I was a little surprised to see that late of a game on the East Coast, and hopefully some fans will stay up late tomorrow night and come to the game,” McDermott said. “I know I'm going to need to get a nap.”
McDermott said the Bluejays will have a shootaround at the arena Sunday afternoon.
“We'll try to treat it like a normal game day,” he said. “We'll get them out and moving around during the shootaround. It's going to be a long day, waiting for the game and the anticipation.”
Artino ready to go
McDermott said he anticipates Will Artino will play in Sunday's game after the sophomore center did not play in the second-round win over Cincinnati.
Artino sprained his ankle when the Bluejays returned to practice after winning the Missouri Valley tournament. Although he practiced the four days prior to the Cincinnati game, Artino probably was at 100 percent for Friday's game.
“He said the day before that he was 75 to 80 percent, but I probably wouldn't have given him quite that,” the coach said. “The reality of it was that Doug got off to a good start, Gregory was playing well and Ethan made his first four 3s.
“There wasn't room to put him in. It was a tight game and I just didn't feel like we could take a chance to find out if a guy could move like that.”
— Steven Pivovar