Banged-up Bluejays recharge after loss

Not having a game until next Wednesday allows Creighton’s Cole Huff to rest a knee that might require surgery after the season.


INDIANAPOLIS — Cole Huff knows his achy knee could use the eight days Creighton has between games.

His mind is another thing.

“It sucks to have eight days off to think about this one,” Huff said.

His teammates probably are thinking the same thing after a subpar effort Tuesday ended in an 88-75 loss at Butler. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Bluejays.

Coach Greg McDermott can appreciate the desire his players might have to get back on the court as soon as possible to rid the sour taste they might have after the Butler loss.

But at this point, McDermott will take a couple of extra days off before the Bluejays return to action Wednesday against Marquette.

“It’s been a long grind, and a lot of guys have played a lot of minutes with some banged-up bodies,” McDermott said. “This is going to give them a chance to possibly get their bodies right for the last four games and then the Big East tournament.”

Huff is one those banged-up Bluejays, playing most of the conference schedule on a knee that might require surgery after the season. Centers Geoffrey Groselle (ankle) and Zach Hanson (foot) and guard Isaiah Zierden (knee) also have been spending a lot of time in the training room.

“This could be a time that we can get healthy and take care of our bodies,’’ Huff said. “We have some tough games coming up, starting with Marquette.

“We just played them, and they probably feel like they should have won that game. They’re going to want to come into our place and take one from us.’’

The Bluejays’ 65-62 win last Saturday at Marquette lifted them into third place in the league behind Villanova and Xavier. Tuesday’s loss dropped them into fourth.

“We need to get back on the practice floor and hook it up to get ready for Marquette,” guard James Milliken said. “We need to keep working so we’re ready for the next game.”

The Bluejays did not practice Wednesday and also will have Thursday off. When they get back to practice, McDermott said, they’ll spend a couple of days working on themselves.

“We need to tweak a few things offensively and work on some things defensively that are still giving us problems,” he said. “We also need to spend some time on situational basketball that you don’t always have time to at this point in this season.

“We’ll spend time on things that might pop up during games. Then we’ll turn the focus to Marquette early next week.”

Creighton has spent a lot of time this season trying to shore up defensive shortcomings. The Bluejays have made gradual improvement and went into the Butler game ranked No. 42 in adjusted defense, according the KenPom.com.

Their adjusted offensive ranking according to KenPom.com is 62nd. There are times it appears they have spent so much time working on defense that it has affected their once-potent offense.

“I guess you could argue that if you spend a lot of energy defensively that it can take a little wind out of your sails offensively,” McDermott said. “Especially when you like to play at the pace we like to play at.

“But I think you’re capable of doing both. I think Maurice Watson is a guy who really improved defensively, and he’s charged with the responsibility of pushing the ball up the court. If he can do it, I don’t see any reason why everybody else can’t do it.”

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