Some of the scoring threats Arkansas-Pine Bluff has faced this season are either putting together or adding on to their All-American resumes.
Following a rare 2-0 start to the season, UAPB took on Big 12 Player of the Year Marcus Smart and Oklahoma State. Smart scored 10 of his 16 points from the free throw line, but Markel Brown and Phil Forte each scored 22 points in a 34-point rout of the Golden Lions.
Most recently, the Lions had the task of containing the best scoring tandem in Division I, Oregon State’s Roberto Nelson and Devon Collier. The two combined for 46 points as the Beavers took a 14-point win Friday.
Now, here comes Creighton’s Doug McDermott.
The Lions (2-7) will pay the 6-8 senior forward a visit Tuesday night in Omaha, Neb., in hopes of ending a seven-game losing streak and upsetting last season’s NCAA tournament third-round team.
What makes McDermott a big name isn’t just his All-American status. He led the nation in scoring last season and is ranked second in that category this campaign at 25.3 points per game, shooting 50.3 percent from the floor in the process.
He’ll be the second top-three scorer the Lions have faced this season. Nelson (24.7 ppg), who scored just above his average with 26 Friday, is ranked third. Niagara guard Antoine Mason averages a nation-best 28.6.
McDermott and the Bluejays (7-2) are playing for the first time in nine days. Their last time out, McDermott scored 33 points against Nebraska in an 82-67 victory, his fourth 30-point game of the season. (His season high is 37 against Missouri-Kansas City on Nov. 11.) He needs five more 30-point games to set a school record of 23 for his career.
McDermott also is dangerous shooting from outside, hitting at a 45.3 percent clip. The Bluejays as a team aren’t too shabby either, leading the nation with 103 treys through Dec. 8.
McDermott’s father Greg is in his fourth season as Creighton’s head man. Greg McDermott spent the previous four years at Iowa State.
UAPB coach George Ivory, who couldn’t be reached for comment Monday evening, is looking to bounce back from his 100th career loss at UAPB against 67 victories. He’ll need more offense from his leading scorers Davon Haynes (12.4 ppg) and Tevin Hammond (11.5) for the Lions to have a shot at winning.