The importance of a late February run in college basketball is paramount in terms of momentum going into conference tournaments and the eventual dance.
Some teams turn and burn, some teams swoon and wilt, some teams stay in their lane and continue a season of greatness (well done, Xavier) or suckitude (sorry, DePaul).
For Creighton, they seemed to be swooning a bit after losing to Xavier in the waning moments, to Marquette after blowing a 16 point lead, and to Butler, who just kicked the Jays mercilessly in the ribs for 40 consecutive minute.
Then, they bounced back, beating Villanova and DePaul, gaining some burn and finding momentum when the season mattered most.
Marquette lost to DePaul.
When you lose to DePaul you need to win more games. If you don’t win more games the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee Brought To You By Quadrant Systems Analysis will shun you and kick you in the nuts.
Thus, this was a must-win game for Marquette, and they didn’t start playing like it until there was 15 minutes left in the second half.
Creighton had an eleven point lead at the 15:57 mark. Then, Rowsey hit a three. Suddenly, the Bradley Center came to life, and from that point on, the Golden Eagles hit their stride on offense, proceeding to acquire the lead in just 5 short minutes.
It was a three from none other than Sam Hauser to get them that lead. From then on it was nip and tuck, until Rowsey exploded.
I mean that figuratively, but after Rowsey hit his third consecutive three from, well, very, very far away, the Bradley Center erupted into utter chaos, showering the senior shooter with adoring praise.
Here’s a brief replay:
At that point, there’s no way you can climb out of that hole. Marcus Foster hit a three with 30 seconds left to put the Jays within three at 81-78, yet after Hauser made both of his free throws, the game was booted back into a two possession game.
With the crowd in utter mind-bending elation, and the Jays just unable to stop the Rowsey/Howard combo, the Golden Eagles triumphed, yet again, over the Jays after facing a double digit deficit.
With this win they’ll likely be put right back on the bubble, back into the conversation of playing in the NCAA Tournament, and potentially out of playing in the Wednesday game in New York.