The Creighton Bluejays and Southern Illinois Salukis will make the third-place game a Missouri Valley Conference reunion Monday in the Paradise Jam at the Sports and Fitness Center in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.
The Bluejays have won 11 in a row against the Salukis and are 6-0 on neutral floors, including wins in the MVC Tournament title game in 1989, 2002, 2003 and 2007. Creighton moved to the Big East in 2013.
Creighton (4-1) lost its semifinal to Colorado State 95-81 on Sunday.
“Our goal is to go home with two wins,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “It’s a quick turnaround. We had some guys play some minutes tonight. Everybody’s going to be tired tomorrow. So we have to get ready.”
On Sunday, Arthur Kaluma scored a team-high 16 points for the Bluejays, who had four scorers in double figures against the Rams. Ryan Nembhard scored 15, and Ryan Kalkbrenner and Ryan Hawkins tallied 13 each.
With the score tied at 52 with just under 15 minutes left, the Rams made a 23-9 run to take a 75-61 lead on Adam Thistlewood’s 3-pointer with 8:14 remaining. The Bluejays didn’t get within single digits the rest of the game.
“It’s a loss, but it needs to be a lesson,” McDermott said. “We’ll watch that film and hopefully learn a lot from it.”
Southern Illinois (2-2) lost to Northeastern 59-47 on Sunday.
Lance Jones led the Salukis with 21 points and three rebounds. Jones is averaging 19 points and shooting 54.1 percent this season. Marcus Domask averages 15 points and 45.5 percent from the field.
–Field Level Media