Creighton basketball hosts Holy Cross Monday

Creighton’s Trey Alexander and Ryan Kalkbrenner on the team’s improvements since the St Thomas game

No. 9 Creighton Men’s Basketball v Holy Cross

Where: Omaha, NE, CHI Health Center, 8 p.m

TV: CBS Sports | Radio: 1620 The Zone | 101.9 FM The Barrel

Holy Cross (1-1)

G – Will Batchelder, 6-1, Fr., 15.5 pp

G – Nolan Dorsey, 6-5, Jr., 5.5 pp

G – Bo Montgomery, 6-5, Jr., 9.5 pages

F—Caleb Kenney, 6-6, Sun., 11 pp

F – Gerrale Gates, 6-6, Sr., 21.5 pp

Creighton (2-0)

G – Ryan Nembhard, 6-0, Sun., 9 p

G—Trey Alexander, 6-4, Sun., 13 pp

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G – Baylor Scheierman, 6-7, Sr., 9.5 pp

F – Arthur Kaluma, 6-7, Sun., 14.5 pp

F – Ryan Kalkbrenner, 7-1, Jr., 16 pp

Holy Cross Scouting Report: The Marcus Blossom game is here. Sophomore Creighton’s athletic director, whose most recent stint in the same role was with the Crusaders, is responsible for Holy Cross’ trip to Omaha on Monday. Frankly, a good portion of college basketball might not have heard of the Crusaders otherwise.

Holy Cross have occupied the bottom end of the Patriot League for the past few seasons, a conference that Colgate has been in complete control and has won the conference tournament three of the last four years. HC hasn’t won a season since 2014. His nine wins in the 2021-22 season were the most in three years, totaling 17 wins over the past three seasons. Things might not be looking much better for the Crusaders this season.

KenPom predicts they will be a bottom 40 team in the nation, a short step up after being ranked as one of college basketball’s bottom 15 teams a season ago. Holy Cross has played in two games: a single-digit loss to Sienna and a 14-point win to Division III Dean College. Coach Brett Nelson suffered a major blow when his starting point guard, freshman Kyrell Luc, switched to St. Bonaventure after two games in what looked like a breakout season.

A bright spot of light? Older striker Gerrale Gates, a fat man who doesn’t fit together, lags behind. Gates is averaging 21.5 points and eight rebounds early in the season and has also flirted with an average double-double in his last two seasons with the Crusaders. But with Gates’ strength comes limited shooting range, making it difficult to balance the way the Bluejays typically defend. It’s possible Holy Cross will try to start 6ft 10 backup center Michael Rabinovich to match CU’s size. Regardless, the Crusaders don’t possess the level of shotmaking – legitimate or not – exhibited by St. Thomas, which kept a momentarily sluggish Creighton force on their toes for 30 minutes.

Creighton Scouting Report: The things Creighton could do to the Crusaders are borderline unholy. Despite the aforementioned flashes of heroic shooting that left St. Thomas hanging around last Monday, the Jays looked like the dominant team they’d predicted in the 50 minutes of play since.

Creighton’s spirits are high after his nearly 40-point route over North Dakota late in the week. The improved ball touch they claimed over the summer and teased in their exhibition win over Drury was on full display. Sophomore Trey Alexander had the hot hand, going 4 for 6 from deep to help the team go 44.4%.

Junior Ryan Kalkbrenner added a career-high 24 points in 10-of-11 shooting, a tremendous turnaround after his season-opening flu game and a glimpse of life surrounded by shooting artists who command attention. He’ll have his fair share of chances to change shots inside when Holy Cross is as dependent on Gates as they have been in the past. Expect both Kalkbrenner and newcomer Fred King to try to keep themselves busy on the inside against Holy Cross.

Senior Baylor Scheierman showed in the season opener that he could be a guy who can take over a game. Through a small sample size, he’s consistently shown to be good for at least one groundbreaking sequence every night. While it’s inevitable, Scheierman shouldn’t have to exert as much energy on Monday. Creighton was not to fight with the Crusaders.

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