You know the old adage in basketball: “Live by the three, die by the three.”
Well, that’s just a tiny piece of shrapnel that can start to describe the leftover bits in wake of San Diego State’s complete destruction of Creighton’s basketball team.
Top down and all around SDSU just owned the Jays. They owned them on rebounds, they owned them shooting the ball, they just dominated every facet of the game. Every shot was contested, every passing lane was filled, every arm that the Aztecs could shove into a Creighton player’s personal space to make them uneasy and uncomfortable, they shoved, and shoved well.
It was a game at one point in the first half, with the Jays leading 22-20, but an 18-0 run by San Diego State sort of ended any optimistic view of this ballgame. Marcus Zegarowski, who averaged 18 points a game coming into this, was a shell of himself, visibly uncomfortable, and unable to get the ball to his scorers with any open space available. To say that this was Zegarowski’s worst game as a Jay is an understatement; and he played with a broken hand for the second half of conference play last year. He scrounged up 7 points on 3-16 shooting, as well as going 1-10 from three.
Ty-Shon Alexander was mostly absent from the court, unable to find openings on the perimeter, and scoring just 8 points on 3-11 shooting from the field. His counterpart in Mitch Ballock was 2-6 from three for 12 points, yet he tried his damndest to keep the ship afloat when it’d already sank halfway to the bottom of the sandy pits of the Las Vegas desert.
It’s games like these where you understand that Creighton’s finesse will become futile. Granted, SDSU played like mad men with their hair lit on fire, but the Jays just looked completely lost, unable to get any rhythm going offensively while allowing the Aztecs to punish them in every facet on offense as the lack of scoring melted into a lack of awareness defensively.
Time and time again an Aztec was wide open on the perimeter and they cashed 11 times on 16 tries from beyond the arc. It’ll likely get chalked up to a “clunker” in the scheme of things but man, the Jays were just absolutely outclassed. In these holiday tournaments, especially on the titular holiday, you never know what the team will look like coming out of the gates.
Well, you can blame it on a lot of things, but it appeared to be an anxious repeat of, “Oh, fuck,” out there for the boys from Omaha. That’s a common refrain from those visiting Sin City after a weekend of debauchery, but these were ballplayers watching their peers just kick the ever loving shit out of them, so it has more staying power.
Hopefully what happened in Vegas, stays there.