Sunday’s action was highlighted by Creighton’s 68-54 win over Cal.
Creighton 68, Cal 54
Before Cal visited Creighton at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, no team from a BCS conference had beaten Creighton at home in the regular season since 1996-97, according to White and Blue Review. That fact remains true after the Bluejays beat the Golden Bears on Sunday, 68-54. Two-time first-team All-American forward Doug McDermott paced Creighton with 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
This would have been a tough game for Cal to win at full strength. It became even more difficult when it was announced before the game that guard Ricky Kreklow, a stout defender, would miss four-to-six weeks after breaking his right hand. Cal also lost freshman standout Jabari Bird and senior forward Richard Solomon to injuries in the first and second halves, respectively.
The Golden Bears failed to notch a signature non-conference win this season, but will have plenty of opportunities to bolster their case for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid during Pac-12 play, which begins Jan. 2 with a trip to rival Stanford.
The Bluejays have rattled off four straight wins since dropping consecutive games to San Diego State and George Washington at the Wooden Legacy. Greg McDermott’s team, picked to finish fourth in the Big East in the preseason Coaches’ poll, looks capable of competing with no. 8 Villanova for the conference title. Creighton hosts Marquette on New Year’s Eve to kick off Big East play.
USC beats Dayton at the Buzzer
USC guard Pe’Shon Howard swished a fadeaway three at the overtime buzzer to break a 76-76 tie with Dayton and give the Trojans a three-point win.
- Can’t enjoy Christmas without college basketball? The Diamond Head Classic, the “other” non-conference tournament staged in Hawaii around the holidays, has you covered. No. 17 Iowa State topped George Mason Sunday, 79-67, in the Classic’s opening round at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. JUCO transfer Forward Dustin Hogue shone again for the Cyclones, scoring 17 points and snaring eight rebounds. The Diamond Head championship game will take place Christmas night (ET).
- President Obama and his family attended Oregon State's first-round game in the Diamond Head Classic against Akron on Sunday. Obama's brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, is Oregon State's head coach.
The Beavers lost to the Zips 83-71 and fell to 6-3. This was the first time that the Beavers had lost with Obama in attendance. The president's presence may have helped Oregon State win at Maryland in November, but it apparently didn't help the Beavers' cause against the Zips.
- The Atlantic Sun team you remember from last postseason is Florida Gulf Coast. The one you should take notice of this year is Mercer, who won at Ole Miss Sunday, 79-76. The Bears have now beaten Seton Hall, Summit league contender Denver, the Rebels and lost at Texas by just three points. Bob Hoffman’s team should challenge the Eagles for the A-Sun title this season.
- Washington had an opportunity to deal no. 10 UConn its second consecutive loss to a Pac-12 opponent Sunday when it hosted the Huskies at Alaska Airlines Arena. Lorenzo Romar’s team jumped out to a 14-point lead midway through the first half, but UConn guard Shabazz Napier scored 20 points – 15 of them in the second half – to help deliver the Huskies a solid road win, 82-70. The Huskies will take on Eastern Washington at Gampel Pavilion on Dec. 28 before opening American Athletic Conference play Dec. 31 at Houston.
- The disappointments keep coming for Boston College. The Eagles lost at Auburn Sunday, 77-67, to fall to 4-8 on the season. Steve Donahue’s team has two All-Conference caliber players in guard Olivier Hanlan and forward Ryan Anderson, but it’s giving up a ghastly 1.1 points per possession – good for 303rd in the country, according to Kenpom. com. A season that began with semi-realistic NCAA Tournament hopes has quickly fallen off the rails. - Guard Terone Johnson scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and grabbed six rebounds to lead Purdue to a 73-70 win at West Virginia on Sunday. The Boilermakers have won five of their past six games since suffering consecutive losses to Oklahoma State and Washington State and host Ohio State Dec. 31 in their Big Ten opener.