Creighton led by 20 at the half. Marcus Foster, in that half of basketball, had 22 points.
It was 52-32.
Everything seemed to be going the Bluejays’ way. Their defense stifled the Maverick’s attack, with Khyri Thomas picking pockets left and right, forcing the Arlington assist master Erick Neal into an aggravated panic. This caused their star Kevin Hervey to score in the single digits, putting up just 9 points.
The real story of the half, however, was the aforementioned Marcus Foster and his 22 points. Arlington, for whatever reason, let Marcus have his space from beyond the arc. Marcus proceeded to fill this space with trey after trey. He was on fire, his heat checks fell, thus he was forever engulfed in flames.
All of this, in front of 14 NBA scouts.
For all the hype that was inserted into this game with a hypodermic needle the size of the First National Tower, the Mavericks certainly didn’t seem to fit the bill. They went into a match-up zone a few minutes into the first half, which gave the Jays wide open threes all night.
News flash: Creighton likes to hit threes.
Thus, the lead grew and grew and settled on a solid 20 at the break.
When the break ended, the match-up zone had disappeared. As had the Bluejays’ 20 point lead.
Arlington came out firing, relying on Davion Turner and the resurgent Kevin Hervey to get things going in a hurry, hopping on a 15-4 run out of the break, slicing into that lead. The Bluejays, riding a lineup with freshmen Tyshon Alexander and Mitchell Ballock, quickly realized that Marcus Foster’s absence was a heel in their gameplan of winning, so they inserted him back into the game.
That stagnant offense quickly turned back into its regular self and the Bluejays righted the ship for the rest of the half, going bucket-to-bucket with the Mavericks, occasionally getting it to 15, but staying around 10 for the most part.
There was a peculiar instance in the game where it appeared, at least from my vantage point, that Hervey had elbowed Ronnie Harrell Jr. in the head while trying to get an offensive rebound. Hervey was called for a foul, the ball belonged to the Bluejays, and they set to in-bound it.
Then the refs called a timeout to review the play. Standard procedure when there’s a blow above the shoulders.
After a lengthy review, they took the foul from Hervey and gave Arlington the ball.
The fans were not so happy.
As the game wound down, Arlington got it to within 10. After Mitchell Ballock threw the ball away into the hands of a waiting Maverick on the ensuing inbound, Arlington’s Johnny Hamilton put in an easy bucket, good for his 9th point of the night. It appeared that a run was coming, a streak of points to put this game within two possessions.
The press seemed to work against the freshman guard, perhaps a bit rattled by the pressure.
Alas, Ballock managed to successfully inbound the ball to Tyshon Alexander, who got fouled immediately, and proceeded to make both free throws. Back to a 10 point game.
Arlington had a chance to bring the game back to 8 points, but guard Nathan Hawkins missed two free throws.
That was about all she wrote for the Mavericks, and the Bluejays escaped with relative ease.