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Creighton beats Kansas; Advances to the Sweet 16

This is what sports are all about.

Steven Branscombe


For the second consecutive year, Creighton advances to the Sweet 16.

In an incredible, bizarre, electric 5 set match against the fifth seeded Kansas Jayhawks the Bluejays were able to seize victory and move on yet again.

Kansas looked sharp, focus and mighty powerful in the first set, dropping the Jays 25-21. Creighton took control in the second and answered back with a punch straight to the Jayhawk beak at 25-20.

Then, in the third set, Creighton absolutely dominated from the first point out of the break to the set point at 25-17. Everything they hit was crisp, accurate, and seemed to absolutely befuddle the Jayhawk defense.

The fourth set was much different, with the Jayhawks taking a commanding lead early and punishing the Jays for the remainder of the set, eventually winning 25-16 to set up the penultimate fifth set.

What happened in the fifth was... astounding.

It’s pretty incredible how human beings deal with pressure. After the UNI game, Jaali Winters simply answered, “Character,” as Creighton’s ability to fight through adversity, but when you’ve got a Sweet 16 on the line against a top ranked, top seeded team, no one find any fault in the team wavering.

Instead, the Jays rolled out to a two point lead and watched as the game teeter-tottered from there on. In all, there were 16 tie scores and 6 different lead changes. It was an amazing display of the aforementioned character and neither team willing to break.

From 3-3 on, it was tight. There was no room for error. Or so I thought, since a Kansas player completely whiffed on a poor set to give Creighton a 9-8 lead.

My heart was absolutely exploding in these moments. The building was so incredibly tense, with the Kansas fans exploding at each Jayhawk point, Creighton matching their volume and enthusiasm when the ball fell the Jay’s way.

This sport is so unforgiving to the heart in these affairs, but I should get back to that fifth set.

At 17-16, Kansas’s Madison Rigdon appeared to have hit it long, out, giving the Jays that 18th point and sending them on to the next round.

Celebrations began commencing, players pouring onto the court, yet the officials gathered at the high chair official’s feet and talked for a while. What exactly they spoke about is unknown, but I believe it had something to do with avoiding their wives for as long as possible and wanting this seemingly endless game to continue on.

The officials determined that a Jay touched the ball on its way out of bounds.

That’s what they settled on. They gave KU the point, tying the game at 17-17.

It was weird, the energy in the building whirling like a tornado of emotions just tore through it. My heart was about to pop, I couldn’t quite believe the historical occurrence that I’d just seen. If Creighton were to lose, I thought, then this may have been the biggest faux pas in sports history.

As you’re probably aware, the Jays won anyways. They’ve got character after all.

Megan Ballenger, the freshman from Ankeny, Iowa, finished this whole charade off with a monster kill. Jays win, 20-18.

My heart took a beating in this game and I’ll probably die soon.

Creighton will play Michigan in the (likely) Austin Regional down in Texas.