The Northwestern – Creighton game provided plenty of fireworks and also a bunch of notable assist efforts. First I’d recommend reading this great piece by Patrick Marshall. He used some stats I collected about Doug McDermott and Grant Gibbs and ran with it using his insights from watching the Bluejays play all season. It’s really interesting stuff.
Grant Gibbs (G, Creighton) — In keeping with the theme of Marshall’s piece five of Gibbs’ 12 assists in Creighton’s 87-79 win over Northwestern were to Doug McDermott. Gibbs’ assists were mostly for threes (7), but also included two jumpers and three layups. McDermott finished the game with 27 points on 10-14 shooting from the field. Overall nine of 10 baskets by McDermott on Thursday were assisted by a teammate.
Antoine Young (G, Creighton) — That’s because Young added three more (the final one was by Ethan Wragge). Overall Young had seven assists with a relatively even breakdown between four layups and three threes. Creighton had 26 assists on 30 baskets (86.7%). The Bluejays came in having an assist on 66.3% of their baskets, 10th in the country.
Dave Johnson (G, Quinnipiac) — Johnson had 10 assists as Quinnipiac defeated Niagara 85-81. Six of the 10 assists went to Ike Azotam who went 13-18 overall and scored 32 points. Six of Johnson’s assists went for layups, three for threes and one dunk. Johnson, a junior from Jackson, NJ, also scored 13 points. He came in averaging 2.9 assists per game, so this was a bit of a surprise.
Zac Swansey (G, Tennessee Tech) — Swansey really spread his 10 assists around in the Golden Eagles’ 81-68 win over Kennesaw State. Jud Dillard got three assists and scored 16 points. Liam McMorrow also got three and scored 15 points. TTU’s leading scorer, Kevin Murphy, had 21 points, but got just one assist from Swansey in the game.
Michael Bizoukas (G, Missouri State) — Even though Missouri State fell in overtime to West Virginia 70-68, Bizoukas continues to thrive with the Bears. He had 10 assists against Mountaineers. Five of them went to Kyle Weems and another four were to Caleb Patterson. Bizoukas is getting help from his teammates as seven of his assists were either on threes (4) or jumpers (3) – though to be fair three were also on dunks.
Aaron Craft (G, Ohio State) — Usually it is Craft’s defense and not his offense that’s making headlines, but in Ohio State’s 69-40 win over Miami (OH) he had nine assists and just one was to Jared Sullinger. Instead it was William Buford that benefitted the most from Craft’s passing with six of his eight baskets coming off assists from the sophomore. Buford led the Buckeyes with 18 points. Overall Craft had assists on five jumpers, three layups and one three. It’s also worth noting that the box score gives Craft for eight assists, but the play-by-play says the total was nine.
John Shurna (F, Northwestern) — Northwestern’s loss was disappointing for the Wildcats and one of the reasons is that Shurna didn’t really show up. He went 6-14 from the field and scored 18 points while mostly being a non-factor in the outcome. It’s worth noting though that Shurna did have nine rebounds and six assists. Those six assists were evenly distributed with two each to Davide Curletti, Luka Mirkovic and Drew Crawford. That means Shurna contributed to both of Mirkovic’s two baskets – another problem for the Wildcats – and two of Curletti’s four. Overall Shurna assisted on three layups, two jumpers and one three.
Two big names that didn’t do much? Junior Cadougan had just one assist in Marquette’s win over Milwaukee. He took on more of a scoring role against the Panthers, leading the team with 15 points. Shabazz Napier had five assists in Connecticut’s close win over Fairfield. Only four of them are in the ESPN play-by-play, one is a dunk by Andre Drummond.