MARQUETTE UPSETS JAYS WITH UNREAL SHOOTING SPREE
Jays enter the Post-Mo era 1-1.
There was an air of nervous anticipation as fans awaited the starting lineup for the Bluejays. The lights dimmed, “POWER” by Kanye West blared through the speakers, and Isaiah Zierden’s name was called as he sauntered over to the scorer’s table.
That breakneck pace we’ve grown so accustomed to was hobbled a bit, with Zierden taking his time on the break, eventually driving a wide open lane yet getting his shot swatted as the ball left his hand at the rim. He slammed into the stanchion and took his time getting back up the court on defense.
Just two minutes and 49 seconds into the game, Davion Mintz checked into the game and collected two rebounds and an assist in just two minutes of work. He proceeded to go 4-4 through that short duration of time, had a Watson-esque pass up the court to a wide open Khyri Thomas, and produced some excellent defense.
Marquette kept the pace, choosing to go down low to Fischer at times to challenge Justin Patton, who ended up picking up two quick fouls early on in the half, forcing the Jays to go with Martin Krampelj and Toby Hegner down low.
Katin Reinhardt got cooking early, finishing the half with 17 points off 7-10 shooting, including 3-6 from beyond the arc. All of Marquette’s shooters got into rhythm early, picking up open space off of some hard screens. A great deal of these came at the top of the circle off of Fischer screens, hitting it right over the 6’11 center.
Creighton’s offense stagnated quite a bit, shooting a season-low 32.4% from the field. The loss of Maurice Watson was paramount as the sure-scoring and electric off the dribble point guard was apparent. Davion Mintz managed to get to the line 4 times, scoring on 7 of his 8 free throw attempts.
Marquette took a lead and the ball kept rolling on, giving them a 10 point advantage at half - 50-40.
The second half started with quite the bang for Marquette as JaJuan Johnson proceeded to rattle off eight points in a relatively short amount of time, capitalizing off Creighton’s uncharacteristic poor shooting, giving them a 16 point lead with just under 17 minutes left in the game.
Marquette proceeded to make sure no Jay was comfortable on the defensive end, hedging off ball screens and forcing pressure upon Davion Mintz.
Creighton switched to a 1-3-1 zone to pressure Marquette, which worked in spades as it forced two consecutive turnovers and allowed the Jays to score on consecutive possessions. They managed to get their deficit down to 11, then after an and-one by Haanif Cheatham, got it back down to 11.
It appeared that Justin Patton was going to be the x-factor for the Jays as Marquette was unable to handle him down low when he was in the game. Maligned by foul trouble, the 7’0 star was unable to get decent minutes to get doing, and with 11:44 left he was handed his fourth foul.
Meanwhile, Marquette’s efficiency was astounding. At one point in the second half the proceeded to score on 8 consecutive possession before eventually turning it over on a travel call, pushing their lead to 19 at 90-71 with 7 minutes remaining.
There wasn’t a whole lot Creighton could do on defense to stop this outpour of offensive prowess the Golden Eagles exuded. This is the first time all season that Creighton has been blown out and the only real conclusion one can come to is that this was due to the absence of Maurice Watson Jr. There’s no other way around it, I mean, except for Marquette’s ability to shoot 60%+ from the field and 55%+ from three. Creighton never had a vaunted run because they failed to get stops on the defensive end, letting Marquette get to the rim and fail to properly switch on ball screens.
Creighton managed to get the lead down to 10 with 2:22 left in the first half, yet failed to capitalize on a bunch of possessions that ended in missed shots. There were gasps of life, but ultimately it was too little too late.