The Hoyas, a traditional BIG EAST power, have toiled as of late in the 2013-14 season. The loss of Otto Porter is being felt, the defense is not nearly as devastating as it was a season ago, and going into Saturday night's contest, John Thompson III's club had lost four of their last five games, sliding to 3-4 in conference play. These are not your father's Georgetown Hoyas, and may not even be the Hoyas that we have recently grown to expect.
Following Saturday night, their struggles continued on, and Creighton's climb to the top rolled along.
It was far from easy for the Bluejays, as they were stifled by the Hoya defense for a majority of the contest. But in front of the largest crowd ever for Creighton men's basketball, the impeccable home record remained blemish-free, as the Bluejays defeated the Georgetown Hoyas 76-63 to earn their 17th victory of the season.
It was common knowledge that the likelihood of Creighton putting on a shooting performance like they did inside the Wells Fargo Center last Monday was minuscule. The regression to the mean factor splashed down on the Bluejays in a big way, as the team finished the night shooting just 46.2 percent from the field, and 33.3 percent from the 3-point line.
After an Effective FG% that shot up into the stratosphere of 75.0 percent Monday night, the Bluejays saw that tally tumble to 52.9 percent. That number is still 3.0 percent above the Division 1 average, but the leap back down to normalcy was a leap that was just waiting to happen.
But even with all that said, Creighton still managed to find a way to prevail.
When senior superstar Doug McDermott was struggling from the field, others stepped up to the challenge. The numbers grew, and a cavalry was conceived, as five Bluejays finished their night in double figures. McDermott still finished with 14, but four of his fellow comrades joined in on the fun as well.
3-point specialist Ethan Wragge, the white-hot Jahenns Manigat, JUCO transfer Devin Brooks, and sophomore big man Will Artino each got in on the scoring barrage as well. Each man finished with 12, 10, 11 and 14 points respectively and helped push the Bluejays ahead of the Hoyas, even on a day where they were not nearly as efficient as they have grown accustomed to be.
Wragge, who will soon be honored on "Lumberjack Night" in an upcoming contest in Omaha, became the 2nd Bluejay to notch 300+ 3-pointers in his career, joining former Creighton star Kyle Korver, per Creighton's SID Rob Anderson.
While one player fell just inches shy of hitting double figures, he paved his own road into history. Austin Chatman, who finished with nine points, became the 13th player in Creighton men's basketball history to notch 300 or more assists in their career. Chatman, a junior guard from Texas, took on this accomplishment at the 7th-quickest rate in the program's history, needing only 91 games, also per Creighton's SID Rob Anderson.
While everything seems to be going right for the new kids on the block, the old guard appears to be on the ropes. Now at 11-8, having been dealt their fifth straight loss, the Georgetown Hoyas are on pace for their worst record since the 2008-09 season. It does not get much easier for Georgetown moving forward, as John Thompson III's club must quickly right the ship for a meeting with another member of the old BIG EAST guard in the form of the Villanova Wildcats.
Sure, after Creighton's dismantling, the Wildcats might be ranked a tier lower, but with Georgetown's recent struggles, this could be yet another dissecting in the future. And if that is not bad enough, the Hoyas will do battle with the Michigan St. Spartans at the World's Most Famous Arena next Saturday afternoon. The very same Spartans that will surely be out for blood after taking a loss from their hated rival Michigan Wolverines Saturday evening.
Whatever the case, after a sensational week, the Creighton Bluejays are wreaking havoc in their new abode. Villanova will certainly continue to be a challenge as the season wears on, but following the emphatic smackdown on Monday, and this victory against Georgetown, this could very well be the year for Creighton for take control of the BIG EAST, even amongst its traditional powers.
So much for growing pains.