It’s been a long time coming.
The magic of the Garden.
The beauty of the BIG EAST Tournament.
The sold-out crowd with 2,500+ clad in Bluejay blue.
In a season fraught with peril and drama that’d make the writers on Breaking Bad blush, Creighton fans have a moment to encapsulate the pure joy that college basketball can bring, against a team that faced similar unmeasurable odds, no less.
What we, the observer, were able to gather from last night was something that will be memorable. Memorable, not a week from now during our bullshit water cooler talk, not a month from now when we mention it in passing to our estranged lover from Canada, but forever. Like Doug on senior night, Woodfox against Wichita, Taylor against Florida, we now have Foster over Xavier.
It’s burned in there now. In the back of your mind. You’ll relive the moment where Foster got his rhythm and pushed that orange orb over Bluiett’s head when you need it most.
In your darkest of times you’ll be able to recall frame-for-frame that god damn basketball rattling in the rim and dropping through to send the Bluejays to the BIG EAST championship game.
I said a few weeks ago that there were simply two more chapters in the book that is Creighton’s season, yet I’m a big dumb idiot and I was clearly wrong, for that shot that fell through with 6.6 seconds remaining contained 75 chapters in itself.
Marcus Foster, who has been written about more times than Jesus Christ in this bizarre season, just wrote himself into a new category simply entitled, “Greatness.”
He mentioned that he’d hit two game-winners during his tenure at Kansas State, a feat that no mere peon would scoff at, yet only this one has the sweet crispness that only the Big Apple can offer.
He’d tossed up seemingly ill-advised threes, ventured down a slumping path in the middle of the season that even he couldn’t recall ever trotting before. When he came to Creighton, after witnessing what he’d done at Kansas State, there was a hype around him that he’d be that game changing player to propel Creighton to the promised land. In the first half of the season he seemed to fit more of a role than shining bright as a star.
There was visible greatness within him. Naturally humble and one to give short and to the point answers to questions from journalists, Foster isn’t an open book but the pages he lets you read are fascinating. Though he landed in Omaha as a volume shooter, he awed the masses with his electric dunks. All he needed to pad his resume was an unforgettable moment.
He got just that.
Creighton has been searching for a player to come up clutch in situations that warranted it. Last season there was the unending search for ‘that guy.’ Was it to be James Milliken, Cole Huff or Isaiah Zierden? There was no true candidate, no one player since Doug McDermott left for the riches of the NBA, no one to count on to win with the game on the line.
In the grand scheme of things, with our lives but just finite blips on this pale blue dot in the Milky Way Galaxy, it’s important that we cherish moments like these as they offer a particular togetherness that binds us as human beings. The actions of a group of men can make us gasp and cheer, hold our heads in sorrow, bring about the contemplation of finality, or simply force us to stare blankly into the middle distance.
What Marcus Foster gave us in the waning moments of that game is a man being told to, “just play.” To do what is instinctual. To do what the neurons in his brain told his body to perform.
Undoubtedly, the message through his veins told him to win. He did just that.
It’s been a long time coming.