Notes: Procedure goes well for Jones

CU's Will Artino blocks a shot by UNI's Seth Tuttle in the second half.

Josh Jones was released from Children's Hospital Wednesday morning after undergoing a second procedure to treat the heart issue that forced the Creighton senior to give up basketball.

Dr. Douglas Ramos, the team's physician, said Jones' doctors were encouraged by the results of the nine-hour catheterization procedure Jones underwent Tuesday.

“A lot of progress made towards treating his heart rhythm,” Ramos said in a text message to The World-Herald. “They still need to evaluate some things related to the heart but all in all, a good day with many successes by a great team of cardiologists.”

Jones suffered an atrial flutter before Creighton's Dec. 6 game at Nebraska that caused his heart rhythm to accelerate rapidly. He passed out briefly before being taken to a Lincoln hospital.

He underwent a first catheterization, called a radio frequency ablation, Dec. 19.

After receiving results of the first procedure and consulting with his doctors, Jones announced a week later that he was giving up basketball.

Bluejay coach Greg McDermott said he talked with Jones after he got out of the recovery room.

“He said everything went great,” McDermott said. “He was pretty excited when he got out of recovery. Round two went better than round one, and hopefully this is it for him for a while and he can return to a little more of a normal life.”

CU center Artino plays big minutes

Creighton got a big lift from little-used center Will Artino in Tuesday's 79-68 win against Northern Iowa. The 6-foot-11 sophomore played 12 minutes, scoring six points, grabbing four rebounds and blocking a shot.

The Bluejays had to turn to Artino when Gregory Echenique and Ethan Wragge each picked up their second fouls in the first half. Artino had two of his baskets in Creighton's 9-0 run that put the Bluejays in the lead for good.

He also hustle when he hit the floor to keep a missed free throw by Doug McDermott alive. Artino tipped the ball to teammate Nevin Johnson, who fed McDermott for a layup that hiked Creighton's lead to 35-28.

“Will Artino played fabulous,” Greg McDermott said. “He came in and got a few baskets and made some great plays on the perimeter passing the basketball on a night when we really needed him.”

Artino, stuck behind Echenique and Wragge for court time, had played 19 minutes in the Bluejays' first five Missouri Valley Conference games. Tuesday's 12 minutes matched his season high.

Creighton had gotten strong efforts from Johnson in its previous two games. McDermott said the Bluejays need Johnson, Artino, Andre Yates and Geoff Groselle to stay ready to contribute.

“You never know when there's going to be a sprained ankle or someone has the flu,” he said. “Someone else needs to step in when that happens, and fortunately for us, we've had guys that have answered the bell.”

UNI coach: Gibbs is a 'coach on the floor'

Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson twice tried to recruit Grant Gibbs, the first time when he was at Linn-Mar High School and the second when Gibbs decided to transfer from Gonzaga.

That makes watching Gibbs score 11 points, grab six rebounds and hand out seven assists difficult to take for Jacobson. It also leaves him appreciating the talent of the player who twice got away.

Jacobson compared Gibbs to St. Mary's point guard Matthew Dellavedova, an All-America candidate whom the Panthers have faced each of the past two seasons.

“He's a coach on the floor, and Gibbs seems to have that same kind of presence with their team,” Jacobson said. “Those guys are pretty unique. When you have someone on the floor coaching your team, that's a real luxury.”

Gibbs appreciated hearing that from Jacobson.

“That's a great compliment,” Gibbs said. “I have a lot of respect for Coach Jacobson. He tried to recruit me twice.”

Gibbs paused, smiled and added, “But I'd take Dellavedova over myself if I had to make that pick.”

Plenty of memories of Kyle Korver

Watching his son pass Kyle Korver and move into fifth place on Creighton's career scoring chart conjured up some bad memories for Greg McDermott.

“I got my tail kicked by Kyle quite a number of times when I was at Northern Iowa,” said McDermott, who went 1-4 against Korver-led Creighton teams.

Doug McDermott scored 31 points Tuesday to push his career total to 1,814, 13 more than Korver scored as a Bluejay.

“I have tremendous respect for Kyle,” Greg McDermott said. “He's still an important part of our program. As Doug said, it's somewhat surreal to think your son has passed someone that is so well thought of in Creighton basketball history.”

Bits and pieces

» Creighton became the first Valley team to start a season 17-1 since Drake did it in the 2007-08 season.

» The Bluejays made 6 of 12 3-pointers against the Panthers and are now shooting .527 from beyond the arc in six conference games.

» Creighton converted half of its 3-pointers for a sixth straight game, a program record.

» Doug McDermott made one 3-pointer, and now has hit at least one shot from beyond the arc in a Valley-best 16 straight games.

» Tuesday's fourth straight sellout of 17,391 pushed Creighton's season's attendance to 202,303. It's the seventh time the Bluejays have topped the 200,000 mark.

» McDermott moved into 27th place on the Valley's career scoring chart.

» Creighton's 6-0 start to Valley play is the second time it's accomplished that since rejoining the conference in 1977. The 2002-03 team started 7-0.

— Steven Pivovar

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