7-0 sounds so sweet.
This was a game I pondered about when I first glanced at the non-conference schedule. I enjoy perusing through highlights of MAC basketball teams when the sun still hangs around in July, so catching Blake Hamilton’s game winner in the MAC championship brings a bit of warmth to my skin.
I pondered deeply about this game, for I knew that the size of the Bulls would be problematic. I knew the innate talents of Hamilton were going to cause a ruckus regardless of the opponent.
It was a joy to watch him live. He had a sweet step back jumper around the free throw line that was textbook. He came off screens aggressively and dotted the perimeter with three point baskets.
Unfortunately for Buffalo, they didn’t have the stamina to keep up with the blistering, head-spinning pace that the Bluejays play with.
Unfortunately for Buffalo, Justin Patton thrived tonight with the Bulls’ defense playing him a little soft.
Unfortunately for Buffalo, the manic spurts of offensive greatness from Marcus Foster decimated any hope they had at rounding out the score at any point in the second half.
Unfortunately for Buffalo, Khyri Thomas put in one of the best games of his collegiate career, joining his fellow Omahan with a double-double in points and rebounds.
7-0 sounds so sweet.
What the first half of this affair brought was a slower tempo and a willingness to serve on the defensive end for the Bluejays. The Jays lived and thrived in the passing lanes, hotly and brilliantly anticipating the next pass, keenly watching screens and predicating their next move on the predictability of the Buffalo offense. It was finesse incarnate, the Jays managing to force 15 turnovers in the half.
Khyri Thomas seemed to be in a different air tonight than usual, reaching out and deflecting passes left and right. He finished the half with three steals but his impact on disrupting the Buffalo offense was paramount to Creighton’s opportunity to saunter off the hardwood with a lead, for when Khyri was absent from the playing surface his primary target - Blake Hamilton - poured in 9 points.
When you want to stop a raging bull, go for the heart.
What the Bulls were able to do is grab rebounds in vast quantities as the Jays failed to properly box out. However, the effort Buffalo put forth was the perfect trap as they managed to wear themselves out going for those extra possessions, hustling for the a neutral ball.
If that’s what the gameplan called for, then it was executed beautifully.
I would be irresponsible if I didn’t mention the play of Justin Patton. At this point in the season I’ve become numb to the greatness he exudes; you watch something magnificent long enough you become blind to its beauty.
A 7’1 redshirt freshman going 5-6 from the field in one half is fine and dandy when the opposition doesn’t have the size to answer, but when he nails a three pointer and finishes the half with 13 points, it’s hard not to stop and become awash in the awe this man can bring.
I have video examples of this, so feel free to click the ‘play’ button and just sort of sit there and think deeply about the talent he carries and the talent you currently possess.
Throw down dunks, hit jumpers... https://t.co/fSPOfWPO5B— Creighton Basketball (@BluejayMBB) November 30, 2016
We’re on the cusp of witnessing greatness. A player from this place - Omaha - that will inevitably transcend anything any athlete has done here in the past 10 years, leaves one short of breath. You realize what you’re watching, right? Maybe I’m hyping this up too much. Maybe I’m not. He won’t be rocking rims in a blue trim jersey for long, but while he’s here, you need to soak it in as much as possible. Fawn over the pure talent and joy this man embodies, for it won’t be right in front of you for long.
Oh, and Maurice Watson Jr., threw a lob to him in the first half that ended up banking in for an easy two points. That was my favorite part of the game, honestly. It was like a sac bunt going under the third baseman’s glove and into left field, resulting in a double. Magnificent.
Buffalo kept this as close as they could. They deserve buckets of credit for their ability to stick with it until their bodies began to slow down and fatigue. There’s a psychological play here, being purported by the home hoopsquad, that wants to decimate the legs of their opponent. I welcome a good fight every now and then, but there comes a time when a team faces Creighton, especially this early in the season, where the knockout blow comes at the 28th minute. Sometimes it’s the 33rd minute. Rarely can teams hang until the 39th minute, and a good handful of those teams presumably exist in the BIG EAST.
What this team lacked last year they make up for in spades this year. A dynamic scorer who can suddenly explode in a fury of baskets and dunks that completely overpower the opposition - a surefire hand that can waft the scent of destruction into the sinuses of the opponents.
That man is Marcus Foster.
What Foster did to the souls of that Buffalo bench was probably more harrowing than any calc final they’ll ever take in their collegiate lives. With just a six point lead early on in the second half, the Jays ran an inbounds play that featured the inbounder throwing the ball real high by the basket and another player jumping to an insane height and flushing the ball through that cherry red rim. Here’s a video that aptly represents this:
What that did, exactly, was set off a firestorm of mayhem from the man who wears number zero. In the next five minutes of gameplay, Marcus Foster dumped in nearly 13 consecutive points, interrupted only by a Patton tip-in.
The ferocity in which he played in those five minutes was an absolute joy to watch. On one such play he was sprinting up the court, dribbling the ball like a heartbroken drunk would beat on his ex-girlfriend’s apartment door, approached the top of the key, and just let the ball fly, sinking it through the nylon net. It appeared to be reckless abandon, but Marcus Foster is a cold calculating individual. He’s able to turn on his talents with relative ease with catastrophic results.
This push enabled Creighton to build their lead to 12 and it would begin to snowball after that. The death of Buffalo’s legs can be timestamped at the 11:35 mark - 28 minutes and 25 seconds before they realized their fate. At that time they faced a 14 point deficit that would wane to 12 and wax to 23 before settling on 21.
7-0 sounds so sweet.