It’s what your dad would call a rockfight. Other thank Ty-Shon Alexander’s shooting stroke, there was nothing pretty about this ballgame, where ETSU was upset-minded but unable to finish it out.
Creighton started slow. It burned slow. The offense fizzled and popped multiple times in the first half, stalling out to a zero sum as ETSU grabbed four & six point leads and meandered between the two. If ETSU went up six, Creighton seemingly scored to cut it close, but never commandeered the lead.
It was a measure in patience watching them walk the ball up the floor, accept a pick from Froling or Krampelj, then have an empty possession as they either turned it over or launched up a low percentage shot. It was futile. It was almost maddening.
ETSU completely controlled the pace, but didn’t own the rebounding margin like prognosticators said they would. They had a +2 rebound lead at half, but didn’t score any of their sweet offensive rebounds that they’d been hyped to eat.
With five minutes remaining in the first half ETSU held an eight point lead at 26-18. Coach McDermott called a timeout, rallied his troops, and slowly started eating into the lead, eventually dwindling it down to two after back-to-back treys from Damien Jefferson.
The crowd this afternoon was quiet and subdued. It was like being in a really big hospital where everyone’s asshole second cousin was having a lobotomy. They were there for moral support but otherwise they could’ve cared less.
Of course, as with all loved ones witnessing a full frontal lobotomy of that little shit Jeremy, there were moments where it got hot and rowdy. More on that later.
Damien Jefferson played the hero for the Jays in the first half, sinking two freebies and acquiring the lead for the Jays with 1:40 left. Unfortunately, Patrick Good was really good for ETSU and canned a three pointer with 24 seconds left.
Ty-Shon Alexander, in his glorious ways and in a piece of foreshadowing for the second half, had an ISO called in his favor, took the orange orb to the rim, and cashed in as time ran out in the half, tying the game for the duration of halftime.
The first ten minutes of the second half were a complete mess. ETSU nabbed 4 offensive boards in the first five minutes, scoring on each of their second chance opportunities, and began pacing the Jays out of the building.
The Bucs built their lead thanks in part to Tray Boyd, who began throwing up shots from everywhere and nailing them with deadly precision, blossoming the Bucs’ lead to 11 with 10:37 left. Good also made his familial ancestors proud by going on a little run of his own, pushing that lead to 12 with 7:19 left.
The Jays looked dead in the water, The more careless they became with their offensive sets, the more they got boxed out and wrecked on ballscreens on the defensive side. Everything slowed down, which is counter to McDermott’s masterplan.
Then, it all began to change.
With Marcus Zegarowski leading the way at point, the Jays suddenly got a little crisper on offensie, taking greater care of the ball, becoming a bit more patient, and disavowing the idea that the Jays were becoming a heroball squad.
After Zeggy himself nailed a trey and got a mid-range jumper to fall, etching the score back to single digits at 7 with 6:21 left, Damien Jefferson knocked down a pair of freebies and the Jays were coming back to life.
Ol’ Jeremy’s full frontal lobotomy started getting excited. They hit a piece of brain that made him yell-sing the lyrics to the Lion King soundtrack.
The crowd came alive.
Tray Boyd tried to quell the crazed fans with a floater in the lane, except the Bluejays answered with a loooong three from Alexander and a momentum-swinging three from Mitch Ballock.
Crowd rocking. Bluejays within one with four minutes left.
Damien Jefferson would slice through ETSU’s defense and put in a bucket, giving the Jays a lead they’d hold for the remainder of the game, helped by another LOOOOONG three from Alexander as the shot clock expired.
The Buccaneer’s sails limp as a soggy biscuit.
Martin Krampelj would seal it with a stellar dunk on a delicious pass from Mitch Ballock.
A win is a win.