In front of a sleepy, weary, and defeated Omaha crowd the Wildcats of Villanova pummeled and punished an upset-minded Bluejay squad with an exceptional second half of basketball.
The Bluejays led the game 42-38 at the half thanks in large part to Ty-Shon Alexander’s 17 points. The sophomore guard shot the lights out of the ball, going 6-11 from the field and 5-9 from beyond the arc.
The Jays controlled the tempo in the first half with an emphasis on getting the ball inside and out. This proved to be mighty effective against a thing Villanova frontcourt that was limited with Dhamir Cosby-Rountree hampered with an injury.
Creighton was also without Damien Jefferson and sparsely played Samson Froling, forcing a high-tempo team to deal with a shallow bench. This is known as the “oh fuck” scenario that Bluejay fans understand well.
It was in that second half when the Jays put up one final spurt, a 5-0 run, to push their lead to 9 at 57-48.
They then proceeded to hand over the reins to the Wildcats for the remainder of the game. Phil Booth finished with 9 points in the first twenty minutes and proceeded answer Creighton’s early run with a personal 8-0 run in the first three minutes of the second half to push the Wildcats ahead.
The tide had turned completely from that point on. Jermaine Samuels played lights out and even managed to flush a vicious fastbreak dunk over Martin Krampelj to give the Wildcats a three point lead, eventually four with the addition of the and-one.
When the wheels begin to wobble and the road began to crack, Creighton fell apart completely. Villanova played a brilliant style of defense in the second half, occasionally slipping into a 1-3-1 or 2-3 zone seamlessly, mixing man with zone to keep the Bluejay offense confused. They managed to bottle up Alexander and pack the paint to nab rebounds that led to big runs, including a 17-9 run in a crucial 7-minute stretch in the second half that solidified Villanova’s lead.
Creighton deployed a 1-3-1 zone of their own to force quick shots from Villanova, yet the Wildcats refused to miss. Phil Booth hit a wide open trey from waaaaay deep to gash that zone, which sent the preferred results of the Bluejays reeling.
Villanova’s win gives them a 4-0 record in the BIG EAST. Creighton drops to 1-3 in conference and visits St. John’s on Wednesday.