Bring on the BIG EAST
Creighton walloped Coppin State tonight, a team that really had no business being in the same building tonight. Unfortunately, the Eagles flew all the way from Baltimore to get beat by a superior team. This is what we in the 'business' call a buy game - where Creighton puts these guys up for the night and sends them home with a nice paycheck to act as a practice opponent. Every college basketball team has these games (sorry Penn) and it's sorta fun, sorta not.
Geoffrey Groselle was dynamite tonight, scoring 16 points on a perfect 6-6 night of shooting. Isaiah Zierden managed to collect 16 points, while going 4-5 from three point land and dishing out 4 assists. Creighton had 7 players score in double figures - Huff/14, Groselle/16, Thomas/10, Watson/10, Zierden/16, Albert/13 and Hanson/10 - and dropped 28 assists on Coppin State. It was pretty spectacular to watch the Bluejays tonight as they owned the game from the get go and never looked back. The Jays shot 60.7%(37-61) from the field and 52.2%(12-23) from beyond the arc.
What is fun is playing in the snow. Do you remember the first time you saw snow as a kid? It was like the sky decided to give you really cold, wet clay to mold things with. Maybe you hit that weird neighbor guy in the face with a snowball, maybe you just sat there and ate handfuls of snow for hours, maybe you've never seen snow before and you're really confused by the concept. The first time I saw snow I was probably an infant so I don't remember it so fondly. There's a good bit of snow on the ground in Omaha these days, the sky cocaine coating the streets of the heartland and making it difficult and frightening to use a personal transport vehicle.
Snow can be cleansing. It can make all the life that was succumbing to winter's punishment seem beautiful again. It also marks the throes of winter, a snowflake capturing the entire season and reminding you that the closer you get to the equator the better off you are. Yet it also marks the end of the warmth provided as the earth reaches it's furthest distance from the sun. In the basketball world, this symbolizes when things are beginning to intensify. This Thursday we're treated to a trough of hoops with the BIG EAST kicking off its conference schedule.
Here's what we've learned about the Creighton Bluejays thus far: they're imperfectly devastating. Their offense can play with anyone in the country while their defense is a few steps behind. Maurice Watson is the defacto leader on this team, scoring the most points (162) through the 13 non conference games while leading the team in assists (83) and boasts the second most minutes played (363) behind only Isaiah Zierden (390). 'Wop' has been the driving force of this offense, with superb ball handling skills and excellent court vision. When asked about if he's excited to play in the Big East, Wop reminisced of his dreams of playing basketball in Madison Square Garden. Excited? Yeah, you could say that.
Geoffrey Groselle has been a catalyst for the Bluejays this season. The senior seven footer has been nails for Creighton, scoring 159 points (12.2 avg), shooting 73% (!!!) from the field, while leading the team in rebounds by a hefty margin (90 - next closest is Khyri Thomas with 61). Over the last few seasons he hasn't been everything Creighton had hoped he'd be, but with his sudden rise to stardom with his team and in this conference has proven his trials and tribulations to be a worthwhile venture. It'll be exciting to see what Groselle is capable of come BIG EAST play as he mixes it up with the best of the conference.
Players like Isaiah Zierden, the oil that makes this wondrous machine spin perpetually, boasts a 41% 3-point field goal percentage (33-80) so far this year, making him extremely prolific from behind the arc while also carrying a 4-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Khyri Thomas, who has logged the third most minutes on the court so far as just a freshman (289), and is shooting 14-21 from 3-point land. Cole Huff, a player who missed some time with a shoulder injury, was quite consistent as he averaged 11.5 PPG and 3.7 rebounds per game.
With solid talent like James Milliken (7.5PPG), Toby Hegner (21-48 3FG) and Zach Hanson (67% FG shooting) coming off the bench the Bluejays will be especially deep at nearly every position. The back-up point guard spot was a bit of a question mark coming into this year, but it appears that Malik Albert has caught on with McDermott's playbook and has solidified himself as the backup to Watson Jr. He had a stellar performance tonight, scoring 13 points while dishing 3 assists and committing only one turnover.