When you were a young human being you most likely had big hopes and dreams for the world you were existing in. Perhaps you wanted to be an astrophysicist, a car mechanic, a smarmy lawyer, a politician, a drug dealer, a window washer, or even a preacher with a loyal flock of folks. Regardless of what you wanted to be, you probably wanted to be really good at it, like the best there ever was. When you proceeded through adolescence and achieved some semblance of adulthood, you realized that these dreams were frivolous, so you got a job at a local bank and worked your way up to junior security guard. Now, instead of just hearing about the vault, you were actually allowed near it while the bankers in suits made deposits.
Whatever it is that you wanted to be, though, you just wanted to be good at it. That's respectable. Though you may hang your head and mutter under your breath, "Another day, another dollar." That's fine, but you're still making an impact on someone, somewhere. You matter.
When the Creighton Bluejays came into this game, not a lot of people thought that they could pull off what was considered an impossible upset. Xavier had the length, the quicks, and the innate ability to score lots of points in a short amount of time. If you would've told me two nights ago that Creighton would win by 14 and Xavier would shoot under 5% from three, I would've nodded a bit and said, "Yeah, sounds plausible."
In the realm of collegiate sports, this is but a blip on the radar of upsets. As I mentioned in my game guide, Creighton's offensive momentum is beginning to swing back to the norm, as opposed to where it was just two games ago. There are multiple peaks and valleys in a season, but for the Bluejays the one constant has been the impeccable play from junior point guard Maurice Watson Jr. Tonight, the young fella from Philly poured in 22 points in the second half and seemed virtually unstoppable from diving into the trees and coming through with 2 points. As the game wore on and Xavier managed to get their deficit down to 5, Watson rallied his teammates and refused to let this game slip by. What he did next was monumental in the realm of basketball, stepping up and carrying his team by hitting the very next shot, pushing the lead that would eventually grow for the Bluejays.
A lot can happen in a short duration of time. In one moment you can be casually driving down the road when all of a sudden a car full of teens drives up next to you and gives you the finger. You can be casually walking down the street with your significant other and bundle of children when all of a sudden a bunch of teens walk by and give you the finger. You can be reading Infinite Jest in your local library when all of a sudden a group of teens slap down a copy of The Davinci Code - the middle finger of all books, ever. You can't find explanations for these events, except that you can never expect them. It just sort of happens and you've got to deal with the repercussions.
Xavier went 1-12 in the first half from three. A rational person may think, "Hey maybe you should stop doing that," but clearly something was driving the Musketeer offense to continue to shoot, as they went 0-9 from three in the second half. It was a head scratcher, sure, and you've got to give credit to the Creighton defense for locking down and swarming to ballhandlers from beyond the perimeter, but it was telling that James Farr and Jalen Reynolds were ripping and rolling down low yet received a limited number of touches. Myles Davis was all but neutralized, finishing with a big ol' goose egg in points, with Remy Abell succumbing to the same fate. This Xavier team most certainly did not look like the same one we've seen all year. What gives? In total, Xavier shot 30% from the field, yet won the rebounding margin by +2, finished with four less turnovers and were pound-for-pound in assists.
There was a point in time, however, that told the entire story of Xavier's play tonight. James Farr hit a a jump shot at around the 12 minute mark in the second half. Eventually, we were gifted with a media timeout where Farr roared towards the crowd and attempted to light a fire beneath the butts of his teammates. The Creighton crowd looked on in a peculiar fashion, sitting silently and allowing the forward to emote towards them. As Xavier went to inbound the ball out of the timeout, Edmond Sumner tossed it inside to Farr, which went off his fingers and the possession switched to Creighton. After a missed floater by Groselle, Farr grabbed the board, dished it off, got in position underneath his own basket, got the ball back, attempted to go up for the lay-in but was blocked by a swarm of Bluejays. Given his agitated state, his body language quickly changed from the roaring ultra confident hoop star to a frustrated ball of energy. As he hustled down the court to play defense after his poor showing on the offensive end, he watched as Maurice Watson slipped right by him and sink a floater. Now, he was beginning to boil over, and when Jalen Reynolds managed to bang inside and get a quick score, Farr took out some of his aggression on a in-position Cole Huff, knocking him to the floor, and was given a technical. It all came to a head, human emotion pouring out from one of the two guys who could actually get it going offensively for the Musketeers. This then prompted Mo Watson to retaliate with a slew of words that, due to our compliance with the FCC, cannot be transmitted on this site. Watson was also handed a technical foul for his part in the altercation. It was beautiful, like watching a coiled spring break free from your mattress. It was human. It was real. It was also pretty hilarious.
So you didn't get to be an astrophysicist. So what? You've got plenty of opportunities to make yourself look real good in a real way. Tonight, we saw Creighton step up in a big way and vanquish a superior foe. We saw Xavier at their absolute worst against an inferior opponent. We saw BIG EAST basketball in it's most bizarre, purest state.