Creighton will look to remain undefeated when it faces Brown in the first round of the Paradise Jam on Friday in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
The winner of Creighton (3-0) vs. Brown (3-1) will face the winner of Colorado State (3-0) vs. Bradley (1-2) on Sunday, with the losers of those games meeting on Saturday.
The other four teams in the tournament are Northeastern (1-2), Duquesne (1-2), Southern Illinois (1-1) and Colorado (3-0).
Creighton, a member of the Big East Conference, is coming off a 77-69 victory at intrastate rival Nebraska on Tuesday. Ivy League member Brown will head to the Caribbean coming off convincing wins over Central Connecticut State and Johnson & Wales of Rhode Island.
“We have a Sweet 16 team from last year (Creighton), albeit with a lot of new faces, but a program that has been to the Sweet 16 and Big East champions recently, so it’ll be a challenge,” Brown coach Mike Martin said.
“But I have confidence every day in what I see in our team, and I know they’ll be ready for it,” he continued. “These guys are competitors, and they are relishing the opportunity to play Creighton.”
Creighton’s Ryan Nembhard finished with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Ryan Hawkins added 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Cornhuskers.
“Ryan’s is a special player,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “He controls the tempo of the game for us. Defensively, he does a solid job and he distributes as well. He is hard on himself with those turnovers, and that’s something that he will get better at as he gets older. He is going to make me a great coach.”
Alex O’Connell (13 points, nine rebounds) and Ryan Kalkbrenner (12 points, nine rebounds) also scored in double figures to round out a balanced attack for the Bluejays.
Creighton shot 46.7 percent (28-for-60) from the field and 43.5 percent (10-for-23) from 3-point range. Creighton also outrebounded the Cornhuskers 50-36.
After suffering its lone loss of the season at then-No. 19 North Carolina 94-87 on Nov. 12, the Bears have won their past two games by a combined 69 points.
Brown also has a balanced offense, as five players average at least 9.8 points per game.
Kino Lilly Jr. averages a team-high 13.3 points to go along with 3.5 assists. Paxson Wojcik averages 11.8 points, while Nana Owusu-Anane also averages 11.8 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Dan Friday (10.8 points per game) averages a team-high four assists and two steals per game.
–Field Level Media