Creighton Bluejays vs. North Dakota State Bison Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 11th 2023

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The season debut for No. 8 Creighton was a walk in the park.

The Bluejays anticipate receiving more resistance on Saturday afternoon when they face North Dakota State at Omaha, Neb.

Creighton rolled to an easy 105-54 victory over Florida A&M in Tuesday’s opener. The Bluejays owned a massive 53-21 edge on the boards.

Trey Alexander scored 20 points and Ryan Kalkbrenner recorded his 200th career blocked shot.

Only Benoit Benjamin (411 in three seasons from 1982-85) has swatted away more shots than the 7-foot-1 Kalkbrenner in Bluejays’ history.

“Kalk has been so consistent and he’s so selfless,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said of the fourth-year center. “He’s a preseason All-American and scores nine points and gets four rebounds and he’s the happiest guy in the locker room. That speaks to who he is and what he’s about. He’s always been about the group.”

Alexander made 7 of 8 field-goal attempts and Utah State transfer Steven Ashworth showed his shooting ability by making 5 of 7 from 3-point range while adding 17 points in 18 minutes.

“Steve is a great shooter,” Alexander said. “You don’t shoot 42 percent (for your career) for no reason.”

Ashworth drained 111 3-pointers last season while being a first-team All-Mountain West player for the Aggies. He averaged 16.2 points, 4.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds.

Baylor Scheierman also was solid in the opener with 15 points and eight rebounds for Creighton, which outscored Florida A&M 54-3 from the 3-point line.

The Bluejays are 11-0 all-time against North Dakota State, including an 80-55 home victory on Nov. 30, 2021.

Still, McDermott expects the Bison (2-0) to be a sturdy opponent.

“North Dakota State is really disciplined and tough,” McDermott said. “That’s going to be a good challenge for us.”

North Dakota State began the season with victories over Western Michigan and NAIA program Mount Marty.

While Wednesday’s 93-66 win over Mount Marty was easy, the Bison had to battle for the season-opening 80-76 overtime road win over Western Michigan on Monday.

Jeremiah Burke’s putback as time expired in regulation knotted the score at 71 before North Dakota State secured the victory in the extra session.

“I’m extremely proud of our guys’ effort and fight on Monday night,” Bison coach David Richman said two days later. “It took us a while to get adjusted to the speed, length, physicality and athleticism. That’s on me. I need to do a better job of preparing them but the guys battled all the way to the end and obviously it took an extra five but we were able to get it done.”

Boden Skunberg leads North Dakota State with an average of 21 points per game. He scored 25 against Western Michigan and had 17 versus Mount Marty.

Jacari White (12.0) and Andrew Morgan (11.0) also are scoring in double digits.

The Bison are still adjusting to life without Grant Nelson, the star forward who transferred to Alabama in the offseason. Nelson averaged 17.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.7 blocks and 0.8 steals last season.

–Field Level Media

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