Nothing as of late has come easy for the No. 11 Creighton Bluejays. On Sunday, the story remained the same.
The 14-12 Seton Hall Pirates packed a punch along with them on their flight from The Garden State to The Cornhusker State. As it was written in the game preview, the Seton Hall's swashbucklers had been shooting effectively as of late. So effectively that they have recently found themselves in the Top 40 in Effective FG%.
But despite a very effective performance in most facets from The Hall, the best in the BIG EAST retained that status in the end.
Despite missing five of their last six free throws in the winding seconds of the game, No. 11 Creighton hung on to capture their 23rd victory of the season and 13th victory in league play with a 72-71 victory over the Seton Hall Pirates. With the loss, the Pirates drop to 14-13 and 5-9 in conference play.
For the Bluejays, it is tough to draw a 100 percent-positive perspective from this performance. Doug McDermott remained superb, with 29 points and a FT% of 75.0 percent on 16 attempts. Add Grant Gibbs' season-high 16-point outburst and you have the makings of a solid victory over a team that might be better than their record would indicate.
But part of the cupboard remains empty. Creighton struggled in the rebounding department, getting outpaced by the Pirates 34-20. Furthermore, they had just three rebounds on the offensive side of the glass, leading them to have an abysmal OR% of 11.1 percent. The Pirates pasted them in second-chance points 16-5 and their bench was outscored by The Hall's to the tune of 16-11.
One has to wonder just how lucky the Jays were to come away with a victory under their own roof on Sunday.
Despite missing the suspended Sterling Gibbs, The Hall remained cool, calm, and collected inside CenturyLink Center Omaha. They attacked the inside feverishly, matching their opponents for 22 points in the paint apiece. While their 2PT FG% was nearly 10 percentage points worse than their average of 52.0 percent, they still remained effective in keeping it close with the top offensive team in the country by most advanced metrics.
Fuquan Edwin and Gene Teague were the best players on the floor for the Pirates by a wide measure. The senior shooting guard scored 21 points and shot 46.67 percent on 15 attempts from the field. Meanwhile, the senior big man racked up a double-double, scoring 14 and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Creighton now takes aim at Xavier on Saturday, while Seton Hall will travel to Rosemont to take on DePaul this Tuesday night.