BLUEJAYS BOUNCED, RAMS CHARGE ON
In a season that was weird and uncomfortable, a season that had opium-esque highs and devastating lows, a season that’s fit more for a made-for-tv movie than for a legendary sports season, the final whistle has finally blown.
In a 40 minute period of basketball the Rhode Island Rams won, not with superior defense or lights out offense, but by allowing Creighton to beat themselves time and time again. Missed bunnies and bricked threes became the norm for the Jays as the clock wore on, Rhode Island capitalizing on the misses by shooting a balmy 43% from the field.
It was an interesting gameplan that Greg McDermott rolled onto the floor, tapping sophomore 6’7 guard/forwards Ronnie Harrell to play a huge bulk of the point guard minutes, letting true freshman Davion Mintz simmer on the bench.
This worked for a while, with Harrell getting some key dimes to open shooters and finding a rhythm on offense. The deeper problem lay bare in the raw numbers, with Creighton - typically a 50%+ shooting team - failed to cash in on their shots. It was simple, it was frustrating, yet URI’s defense - highly touted going into the affair - allowed the Jays wide open opportunities that were squandered repeatedly.
There’s credit to be adorned upon the Rams, however, especially with Hassan Martin’s defense on Justin Patton. The Rhode Island big man managed to body up Patton and force him off the block while drawing contact time and time again. It was a pretty stellar performance, game planned perfectly, that frustrated the 7’0 center to no end.
URI’s Jeff Dowtin, a guy that flew under the radar in preparation for the game, poured in 23 points as there was nary a Bluejay that could keep up with him. When they did, they put him on the foul stripe where he proceeded to go a perfect 10-10.
Marcus Foster and Justin Patton were both pretty poor offensively, yet the continued to shoot poor shots. I suppose when the threat of finality begins to creep into one’s mind, their efforts growing ever more futile, the scoring gap growing larger, it’s easy to slip into desperation.
Which is exactly what happened.
Combined, they were 9-31 from the field.
So what’s to make of all this? What did this season mean in a historical context as far as Creighton basketball is concerned?
A lot, probably. Hard to sift through it, but we’ve got a lot of time until we see the Jays take the court again.