KRIS DUNN WINS GAME AT LAST SECOND - CHILDREN WEEP HAPPILY
I've seen some incredibly bizarre things in my life. I've seen a car cruising down the street with all four tires shredded, shooting sparks in every direction as it casually navigates the road on its rims. I've seen a grown man in a Peter Pan outfit - bow and arrows, green tunic and all - jogging down the street at 5am like it was his morning routine. I've seen an entire light rail train full of people in their underwear, complacent with their surroundings.
If Ben Bentil tried to eat lentils with a pencil would a vagabond named Wendell let him borrow his utensils?
This basketball game ranks right up there for weird, crazy stuff I've seen in my lifetime. I saw one of the best basketball players in the country seemingly unable to hit a shot from the field. I saw an offensive juggernaut struggle to make even the most simplistic shots. I saw the look of exhaustion and confusion in the eyes of two entire teams of college basketball players. I saw what appeared to be anti-basketball. I saw referees let guys play beneath the rims, arms swirling and elbows pumping, yet these same referees seemed dead set on calling fouls that seemingly weren't there.
I saw a basketball game tonight folks. More importantly, I was able to see Kris Dunn play a basketball game with my own two eyes. His college career will seem like a faint whisper in the history of the sport as he will undoubtedly march on and play for a big, fat, paycheck. I was able to see him in his prime, before his knees start to give out under the weight of facing off against giant men a head taller than him. I'm the lucky sonuvabitch who was able to see him offer a sly smile to Kyron Cartwright before driving into the middle of the lane only to gently pass the ball to a waiting Ben Bentil who promptly dunked the orange orb.
I was able to be part of the atmosphere tonight, a raucous and tipsy gathering of a little over 17,000 folks smack dab in the middle of the country. I listened to them yell and scream, boo the almighty Kris Dunn, and fall completely silent as the winning shot bounced through the net. I heard praise heaped upon the Creighton faithful to no end; though I'm not a stranger to this. I used to be part of that. I was with them, fully liquored up, when the Pirates of Seton Hall sank the Jays at the CLink last year.
I know what this feels like to them. I know how deeply it burns inside their chest, the imagination running rampant of all the different outcomes. The would've, should've, could'ves. The pain primarily stems from the inability to do anything about what transpired, the feeling of helplessness brings about a sadness only sports fans can feel. Though, the pain is fleeting. It will be forgotten, some will forget quicker than others, but eventually all shall pass as glory is achieved later on in the future.
For me, I feel comfortable saying I saw a really poorly played basketball game come down to its rightful finish. The hype around Kris Dunn around this corner of the internet has been very accurate. If this was your first time seeing Kris Dunn live and in person, then I feel very sorry for you. You've been missing out on the greatest show since the McBucket era.
At times it felt like Creighton tried so desperately to get things going. In the brief two minutes that Malik Albert appeared on the court, a sub that happened solely because Ed Cooley took Dunn off the hardwood, the spry point guard tossed up two ill-advised shots in attempt to spread the lead. I can't say I blame him, given the fact that we saw nearly half a dozen shot clock violations. The offense was dreadful, mediocre, pitiful. The defense was stout and unwavering, a mixture of sliding by screens and a freshman shooting guard locking down on the conference's best player with a physical style of BIG EAST basketball. It was beautiful and tenacious, like a dog licking peanut butter off his nose.
At other times it felt like Providence was pushing and pressing their offense into a deep hole of nothingness. There seemed to have been more 10-second possessions for the Friars than I'd seen all season, sans the possessions where a shot would refuse to go up until the shot clock buzzed its frightful tone. Ben Bentil had issues getting going, Kris Dunn had the same issue. The second half started as troublesome as the first ended, a whole lot of short possessions with no real goal in mind. That is, until Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil shared a loving look of familiarity, a look that seemed natural at first but as they built off each other's energy you began to sense the brotherhood they put forth on the floor. You got a taste of it during the national anthem as the Providence players grabbed the player next to them by the waist and looked longingly at old glory's presentation at midcourt. Providence capitalized on the unease of the Jays as they mounted their comeback, and ultimately they came out as victors.
RIP David Bowie. RIP Andrew Smith.