Creighton had an opportunity to put on a defensive effort against a high-tempo, hot shooting team. Coming into tonight Green Bay put up 80+ against seven of their ten opponents, including 100 against Belmont and 82 in a loss to Iowa.
There was a lot of speculation on whether this Creighton team had it in them to defend well. Jon Nyatawa from the Omaha World-Herald posted this fun infographic on where this Bluejay squad ranked among teams of the past:
Well tonight the Jays stemmed the tide and locked down, holding the Phoenix to a season low 65 points, forcing 18 turnovers and pressuring their shooters into uncomfortable three point shots. Green Bay finished shooting just 23% from three, a season low.
Past the defense, the offense returned to their routine explosiveness. Mitch Ballock and Ty-Shon Alexander dazzled tonight, with Alexander returning to his scoring ways by dumping in 17 points on 5-15 shooting, including going 4-4 from the free throw line.
Tonight was a measure of the final ten minutes of each half for the Jays, explained thoroughly by this tweet from Matt DeMarinis from White & Blue Review:
Despite Green Bay ranking in the top 10 in tempo, Greg McDermott believed that the #Jays could wear them out if they pushed the pace tonight. He was right.— (@mjdemarinis) December 15, 2018
First 10 minutes of each half:
GB won 44-40 and shot 51.7%.
Last 10 minutes of each half:
CU won 46-21 and GB shot 19.4%.
All-in-all a great win for Creighton as they set their sights on Oklahoma on Tuesday night.