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St. Joe’s Spoils Creighton’s Time In The Top 25

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Creighton lost a game and its national ranking could be next.

Doug McDermott was reliable as ever from all over the court. When the rest of the Bluejays struggled from the floor and on the boards, they learned for the first time this season what it’s like to lose.

Carl Jones scored 29 points, Ronald Roberts and Langston Galloway each had 12 and Saint Joseph’s spoiled No. 19 Creighton’s first week in the Top 25 in five years with an 80-71 win on Saturday.

McDermott had 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Bluejays (7-1), who used an undefeated start to make The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since the first two weeks of the 2006-07 season.

The up-tempo Bluejays raced to a perfect start behind McDermott and an offense averaging 87 points per game.

The Hawks never let them get running.

Throw out McDermott’s 10 of 16 shooting and Creighton was a miserable 17 of 45 from the floor.

“It’s good being ranked, but we know we’re going to come into some of those environments with an X on our back,” McDermott said. “We can’t let the ranking go to our head. We’ve still got to go to practice and come ready to play every day.”

Led by Jones’ second-half surge, the Hawks (7-3) put a quick end to Creighton’s ranked fun.

Hard times had hit Hawk Hill the last two seasons. When Galloway lobbed an alley-oop pass to C.J. Aiken in the waning moments, the packed crowd in the cozy Fieldhouse erupted.

Students rushed the court and chanted “We Want Nova!” The Hawks play city rival Villanova next Saturday.

“It’s really my first time that I went through this experience,” Jones said. “It was real fun, real different. I’m glad we got to do it.”

C.J. Aiken, who led the nation in blocks with 5.0 per game, had three. Halil Kanacevic had 12 rebounds to help the Hawks to a 40-28 edge on the boards. The Hawks led by as many as 12 points in the second half thanks to 58 percent shooting (15 of 26) from the floor.

“They were ready for just a wonderful, wonderful opponent,” Hawks coach Phil Martelli said.

Saint Joseph’s slumped to a 22-44 record over the last two years and the program was years removed from a string of NCAA tournament appearances.

Martelli seems to have the Hawks back on track — and back as a threat in the Atlantic 10.

Saint Joseph’s beat a ranked team at home for the first time since a 71-66 victory over No. 8 Xavier on March 6, 2008.

Antoine Young scored 15 points for Creighton. The Bluejays hit 11 of 21 3s to hang around.

“They really beat us up,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “Defensively, in the first half, we played well enough to win.”

Fueled by the crowd and a Top 25 foe, the Hawks came ready to play from the opening tip.

In the first half, Kanacevic threw down a thunderous baseline dunk and pounded his chest while the crowd went wild. Roberts, a 6-foot8-, 215-pound forward, charged down the lane and rocked the rim with a one-handed slam that made it sound as if 20,000 screaming fans were inside the 4,200-seat gym.

“These high-flying plays, they’re more than two points,” Martelli said. “I hate to refer to a human being as a freak. But come on, seriously. He threw the ball in the basket. Where are you at that point? Are you 11 feet in the air?”

Jones, honored before the game for reaching 1,000 career points, gave the Hawks a double-digit cushion when he used a stutter-step to open a huge hole to drive for an uncontested layup and a 63-52 lead with 5:28 left. The Hawks rallied from an eight-point hole in the first half to lead at halftime and pull away late in the game.

McDermott was sensational from the floor and at 3-point range that kept the Bluejays competitive in a tough road game. But he had little help. Jahenns Manigat tied the game at 39 with a 3 midway through the second half. Creighton could not take the lead.

Jones converted a turnover into a three-point play to make it 44-39.

One game after Galloway scored 30 points in a win against Boston University, it was Jones’ turn to carry the Hawks. Jones also was unselfish, connecting with open teammates, attacking the boards and grabbed some rebounds.

The Hawks student section serenaded Creighton with chants of “Overrated!” and Jones waved his arms in celebration at the crowd.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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