It was sort of cruel for Creighton to do what they did to Loyola Maryland today. In the first half the Jays failed to put in electric dunks, played the game with no sense of urgency, couldn’t run their offense in transition, and shot less than 25% from three.
Loyola Maryland, with a 5 point deficit, probably went into the locker room absolutely stoked that they still had a dog in this race. They didn’t shoot particularly well from the field either, but it appeared their defense was doing just enough to stymie the brazen Bluejay attack.
Then Creighton came out in the second half and just demoralized them completely. In fact, Marcus Foster even put his groin upon another man’s head area as he mashed a vicious dunk, a dunk so violent that even the crowd hesitated to erupt as the act was chalk full blasphemy.
Alas, the poor Greyhounds were completely and utterly embarrassed after achieving some semblance of a shot early on.
Creighton played a terrible first half. They played it as if Loyola was ranked in the 280’s of a kenpom ranking or something. They showed up and decided to roll the ball around for a while, haphazardly throw it at a basket, and hope for the best. Had this been any team other than the Greyhounds the Jays may have been in a pot of hot water, slowly having their nutrients pulled from their bodies as they dwindled into some fisherman’s stomach.
It was a brutal half. No one could get anything going. Maurice Watson Jr., was denied at the rim time and time again, Khyri Thomas wasn’t hitting from three, Justin Patton’s minutes were limited, Marcus Foster’s drives were met with bodies. Isaiah Zierden managed to get into rhythm, getting a couple rebounds and a clutch three, but overall the offense was dismal.
The defense was fine. Loyola Maryland’s offensive sets are something equivalent of a high school playbook. Not a lot of off ball movement to get it to an open guy, just isolation plays that they pray will draw a foul at the rim, or get a lucky bounce.
Loyola wasn’t getting lucky bounces, so their shooting was just as bad. They kept it close by getting to the stripe, which they did four times. Unfortunately, for them, they turned the ball over quite often.
Martin Krampelj played second fiddle in the ‘5’ position, backing up Justin Patton after Zach Hanson went down with a goofed up ankle in St. Thomas, and played exceptionally in the first half. In less than a minute of being on the court he managed to grab two offensive rebounds and drop a dime for an assist. He ended the half with four points, four rebounds, and an absolutely beautiful chase down block to deny a dunk.
The best part about the first half, much like the first half against Ole Miss, was the play of Marcus Foster. The kid carried the team to the tune of 12 points on 4-7 shooting. Though, he scores points so quietly much like Nate Funk did in his career. On occasion he’ll score a very loud, undeniably exciting bucket, but his accumulation of points seems to fly under the radar. Consistency is a beautiful thing.
Jays up 30-25.
With the heavy regression the Jays faced in the first half, they came out a blazin’ in the second; scoring three consecutive buckets while denying the Greyhounds on the other end, building a 6 point lead. This appeared to have been enough to convince Loyola-Maryland to rethink their strategy because they burned a timeout within the first minute of play. From there on the Bluejay lead swelled to 13 after Justin Patton finally dunked the ball.
Some gems from this game included the return of Ronnie Harrell, who I’m still convinced is one of the better players on this ballclub. He managed to eat some of Cole Huff’s minutes, which was very helpful considering Huff was having an uncharacteristically poor shooting game. Harrell’s ability to rebound and his feel for the game make him an important part of this squad; his hustle and determination, court vision, and ability to score will be paramount when the conference schedule rolls in.
So it’s been a while since I typed in this, but as I write it Creighton now leads 66-40 with 7:30 left. After shooting 35% in the first half, the Jays are currently shooting 77% from the field, so something happened at halftime that I believe resembled a man standing, shouting, reminding them of who they are, and then the team remembering just that. There were some most excellent dunks, some excellent three point shooting, and that breakneck pace we’d become so accustomed to.
With that, here are a bunch of dunks:
From about the 4 minute point on, the Bluejays deployed their bench. The Greyhounds had been raced out of the building and taken to a farm upstate. Creighton improves to 6-0 on the year.