Longwood's Jeff Havenstein, center, struggles for a rebound against Creighton's Ethan Wragge (34) and Austin Chatman (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. At left is Longwoods Nik Brown. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 11:34 pm
Longwood loses on road 105-57 to No. 14 Creighton
By ERIC OLSONAP Sports Writer
Michael Kessens was on the bench for the last 18 minutes while the Bluejays finished a 105-57 victory over the road-weary Lancers.
Kessens was assigned to guard Creighton center Gregory Echenique. Both are 6 feet 9. The problem for Kessens, the freshman from Switzerland, was that the 260-pound Echenique outweighed him by 55 pounds.
The Bluejays exploited the matchup, feeding Echenique inside for easy baskets or trips to the free-throw line.
"Mike Kessens is an inexperienced college player, he's new to the country, he's new to the game. He's been off to a great start," Longwood coach Mike Gillian said. "He played 14 minutes. He didn't even get to play in the game. I didn't take him out. I would have left him out there and let him go head-to-head against these guys."
Echenique made 5 of 7 shots from the field and 7 of 9 free throws, finishing with 17 points during his best outing of the season.
Doug McDermott, the Bluejays' returning All-American, also had 17 points. Ethan Wragge and Will Artino each added 13 points for the Bluejays (4-0), who have won all their games this season by at least 20 points.
Jeylani Dublin had 19 points and Tristan Carey 14 for Longwood (0-4), which has been outscored by an average of 38 points a game.
Kessens, who averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds in the Lancers' first three games, finished with two points.
Longwood, coming off a 112-63 loss at Arkansas two nights earlier, is 13-116 in road games since beginning the transition to Division I in 2004. This is the Lancers' first season in the Big South Conference, and Gillian said the experiences they've had against top competition will serve them well when conference play begins in January.
"Guys are always down when you don't succeed," Gillian said. "That's always a challenge. The one thing for us now that is different is we are going into a different season when January and February roll around. We do have an inexperienced group, but we've got some talented guys who are nowhere near where we're going to be eventually. We'll continue to get better. I don't really have any doubt about that."
McDermott missed three shots, had another blocked and threw away a pass in the first four minutes. He went to the bench for about a minute, and upon returning he hit a 3-pointer and his next four shots, including a tip-in at the buzzer for a 53-24 halftime lead.
The Bluejays went on a 15-2 run to go ahead by double digits less than seven minutes into the game. Wragge hit two straight 3-pointers and Josh Jones followed with another to end a 19-2 run that made it 44-19 late in the half.
Creighton coach Greg McDermott sat his starters for the night after the Bluejays had a 40-point lead with 8:51 left.
Creighton has won its first four games by 20, 27, 29 and 48 points. The Bluejays take a big step up in competition when they play Wisconsin on Friday in the Las Vegas Invitational. The Badgers were ranked 22nd last week before dropping out of the Top 25.