The Creighton Bluejays had a shot at winning this. Honestly, they did. At one point in the second half the Jays had Oklahoma on the ropes, a 1-point deficit and Oklahoma on a scoreless streak of 7+ minutes. In that span, Isaiah Zierden missed a three, Khyri Thomas missed a dunk, Ronnie Harrell goofed up a drive and Geoffrey Groselle bounced a pass into the arms of a waiting Sooner defense.
Oklahoma, after failing to score for that stretch of time, went on a 7-0 run. It seemed as if the Bluejays were to be laid to rest, right then and there. Then Wop decided to drive the length of the court, slicing through that vaunted Oklahoma defense to stop the bleeding. 6 point game. Threes by Zierden, Milliken and Huff cut the deficit to a measly 3 points.
Then Buddy Hield decided to turn it back on. In roughly a minute and some change, Buddy Hield scored 9 straight points on his own. That turned a 71-68 game into a 80-68 ballgame, and Creighton never threatened after that.
The first half started off with a streak from Creighton, then a nice streak for Oklahoma and for a while it was nip-and-tuck. Eventually Hield caught fire and pulled the Sooners away from the Jays, mounting an impressive 14-point lead. After the Creighton defense finally locked down and stopped the bleeding, they were able to get a choice 3-pointer from Khyri Thomas as time expired at the end of the half.
Have you ever dreamed of participating in a robot fight? The only thing you need to protect is your computer - your hard drive - while the rest of your flailing robot limbs swing aimlessly at another metal contraption. With the point of view of one of these machines, you can only focus on your target, but since you're sentient you've got an upper hand on each opponent - until you find out that said opponent is also sentient. At that point, you begin to look for weaknesses. Does it have spinning blades for its primary weapon? If so, avoid the spinning blade. If you don't, you may sustain substantial damage and be unable to counter attack. Here's the thing though: you know it can think and process with the power of the human mind, yet cannot feel pain.
That's the way Creighton played Oklahoma. With opportunities to put pressure on the Sooner buzzsaw, Creighton instead decided to balk at the opportunity to let their one-trick pony of an opponent get uncomfortable. The Bluejays knew their opponent could not feel pain; only enthusiasm. When given a chance to strike and mortally wound their counterpart, Creighton got a bit of stage fright. They had this game. They really, really did.
Points: Watson Jr. - 19 (7-16FG 1-1 3FG)
Rebounds: Groselle - 7
Assists: Watson Jr. - 7
Turnovers: Thomas, Huff, Zierden - 3
Points: Hield - 33 (12-22FG 3-6 3FG)
Rebounds: Spangler - 15
Assists: Cousins - 7
Turnovers: Spangler, Woodard, Cousins, Hield - 2