The Creighton Bluejays headed into a soon to be snowy Villanova, Pennsylvania looking for their first Big East Conference win of the year. The Wildcats, coming off a 20 point drubbing at the hands of the Georgetown Hoyas, were not eager to appease the 'Jays. Add two losses by a combined 49 points last year and one would think the Wildcats would not need any motivation. Villanova found their stroke early hitting 4 threes in the first 7 minutes to jump out to an early 15-0 lead.
The Wildcats cooled off from the outside and the 'Jays went ice cold, going 2-9 from deep in the first half. The Wildcats took an 15 point lead into the locker room at the break. The second half kept on much like the first and the Wildcats (18-2, 5-2) cruised to a 71-50 victory at the Ski Lodge. They were led by senior guard Darrun Hilliard with 24 points.
Here's what we learned:
1. Villanova is fine
Yes, it was at home, yes, it was against the league-worst Creighton Bluejays (9-12, 0-8), but the Wildcats showed why they are the class of the Big East. The Wildcats simply were better than Creighton and put their missteps in Washington behind them. The Wildcats now have 6 days to rest up before heading to DePaul next weekend. The 'Cats, who looked tired against the Hoyas, will be well rested heading into their game against the Blue Demons.
2. Creighton needs a leader
This team is a far cry from the Dougie McBuckets-led team of the last two years. The Bluejays have some legitimate role players but nobody with any star power. It is obvious that guards like Austin Chatman and James Milliken, who led the Bluejays with 13 points,have the talent to play in the Big East but they are not going to lead this team to success have nobody to follow. The Bluejays need to find some solutions on the inside as well where they had almost no offensive help.
3. The Wildcats are at risk
Whatever the cause, whether it was lack of a challenge, concerns over an impending blizzard or something greater, the Wildcats looked disinterested for much of the first half of Sunday night's match. They had a similar lack of a spark 6 days earlier against Georgetown. The Wildcats ran out to a 15 point lead then took their foot off the gas. When the long range well ran dry, the 'Cats struggled to find alternative ways to score. Their Defense had gone on a 60 minute hiatus it seemed.
The Wildcats found their will to win and returned to their defense. They created 19 turnovers and snagged 10 steals. They forced Creighton to take bad shots and held them to 39% shooting. The ability is there for the Wildcats but they need that desire. During one timeout the 'Cats were told by Jay Wright to stop being cute and just be aggressive. That is a lesson these Villanovans need to embrace.