Austin Chatman and Devin Brooks each have the ability to impact Creighton's offense in a variety of ways.
Team them up, and it could be argued they provided the juice that helped the Bluejays pull off a dramatic rally that produced an 83-79 victory over St. Joseph's.
The two junior point guards were on the floor together for eight minutes and 17 seconds of last Saturday's game in Philadelphia. Creighton outscored the Hawks 21-11 during that span. More important, their initial pairing pumped some life into the Bluejays at a critical time of the game.
“Our offense was sputtering,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “We decided to try something different, and fortunately it worked.”
Well enough that McDermott said the Bluejays probably will consider using Brooks and Chatman in tandem in the future.
“It's another option,” McDermott said. “You keep Austin's ability to defend on the floor, and you add Devin's creativity at the same time.”
Creighton trailed St. Joseph's 34-22 when McDermott paired up the guards with 6:44 left in the first half. They played all but five seconds together until halftime, and the Bluejays outscored the Hawks 18-11 to cut Creighton's deficit to 45-40 at the break.
“We got the deficit down to two points at one time,” Chatman said.
In the short time they were on the court together in the second half, Creighton outscored the Hawks 3-0.
“It was something different that they weren't used to,” Chatman said. “It's always good to give teams doses of different things.
“I think this is a good option for us. It spreads the court more and opens things up. It makes it easier to get into the lane and find our shooters, and we have a lot of guys that can shoot it.”
The 6-foot Chatman wound up playing 28 minutes against St. Joseph's. He made 3 of his 4 shots and finished with seven points. He also had two assists without a turnover, giving him 16 assists and no turnovers in the Bluejays' three games this season.
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Brooks' ability to get to the basket was a key factor in the victory as he finished with 16 points and three assists in 21 minutes. The 6-2 junior-college transfer is now Creighton's third-leading scorer with an 11.7 average, and he has 13 assists and six turnovers.
Brooks smiled broadly when told that his coach would consider playing both the guards together again in the future.
“I love that,” Brooks said. “Me and Chatman talk about that all the time. When we're out there together, it's like, 'Run, run.'
“When we're both in the game, it's easier to score because we're both fast. We can get by defenders with our quickness.”
Given that each player is used to having the ball in his hands does require some adjusting when they're both on the court at the same time. Against St. Joseph's, Chatman usually shifted to the off-guard position because of his experience with the offense.
“I move to the two because I know more of the plays than he does,” Chatman said.
Brooks said it really doesn't matter which player takes over at the point.
“If I have the ball, he can score off the wing,” Brooks said. “If he has it, I move out the wing and become a scorer. We both love scoring.”
Creighton next plays Saturday at home against Tulsa. Chatman hopes there might be times when he and Brooks team up again against the Golden Hurricane.
“When we're out there together, it gives us more people to make plays on the court,” Chatman said. “I like playing with Dev. It's fun.”