Creighton guard Trey Alexander is taking his game to a new level and knocking on the door of stardom.
Alexander will aim to record his fourth straight stellar effort when the No. 8 Bluejays face Texas Southern on Saturday night in Omaha, Neb.
Alexander is the first Creighton player to open the season with three straight 20-point performances since National Player of the Year Doug McDermott in the 2013-14 campaign. McDermott did it in his first six outings.
Alexander nearly recorded the first points-rebounds-assists triple-double in Bluejays history in Tuesday’s 92-84 home win over Iowa. He recorded 23 points to go with career highs of 11 rebounds and nine assists.
All three of Creighton’s triple-doubles were turned in by Benoit Benjamin with each consisting of 10 or more blocks. Benjamin’s first came in the 1983-84 season and he had two more in 1984-85.
While the 6-foot-4 Alexander isn’t going to reject many shots, he is doing everything else. He is averaging 21.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals for the Bluejays (3-0) while shooting 60 percent from the field.
“Just playing the way I know how, being a basketball player,” Alexander said after the win over Iowa. “Obviously, guys are making shots if I’m going to have nine assists, so kudos to my teammates. They’re making shots when I pass it to them and kudos to (coach Greg McDermott) for putting me in the right position.”
Equally impressive to the coach is that his squad made 15 of its first 17 second-half shots against the Hawkeyes. The game was tied at 43 at the break but Creighton opened the second half with a 34-18 surge to take a 16-point lead with 10:14 left in the game.
“We scored on 20 of our first 25 possessions in the second half,” Greg McDermott said. “Those are video game numbers.”
The Bluejays have averaged 95.3 points and shot 56.3 percent from the field over their first three games.
Baylor Scheierman is averaging 16.3 points with a team-leading nine 3-pointers. Big man Ryan Kalkbrenner is averaging 11.7 points and has a team-high five blocked shots.
Texas Southern (0-3) traditionally plays a tough nonconference schedule and is coming off Thursday’s 62-33 road loss at Virginia.
The Tigers shot just 26.1 percent from the field, including 3-of-16 from 3-point range. Texas Southern committed 20 turnovers and was outscored 15-3 on second-chance points.
“We knew coming in that this would be a very difficult task for us,” Texas Southern coach Johnny Jones said afterward.
PJ Henry, the leading returning scorer (12.2) off last season’s squad, is averaging just 8.7 points on 22.9 percent shooting through three games. He had just seven points against Virginia to tie Jahmar Young Jr. for the team high.
Jonathan Cisse is second on the Tigers with an 8.3 scoring average. He is shooting 25.8 percent.
Overall, Texas Southern is averaging just 46.7 points while committing 17.0 turnovers per game. The Tigers are shooting just 29.7 percent from the field, 18.8 percent from 3-point range and 51.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Texas Southern opened its season with a 92-55 road loss to New Mexico on Nov. 6 and then lost 63-52 at Arizona State five days later.
–Field Level Media
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