The Creighton Bluejays pulled off a stunner on Sunday.
Faced with the task of taking on the Marquette Golden Eagles in Milwaukee, the Bluejays were calm in their demeanor and successful in their duties. The Jays feasted on an immense amount of turnovers from their adversary, and walked away with a 66-60 victory.
The game was pretty give and take down the stretch. The two teams kept trading blows and for a while, neither team could muscle their way to victory. Marquette opened up a four-point lead at the 5:25 mark following a 3-pointer by who else? Markus Howard.
Things unraveled from there, however. Marquette wouldn’t score again until the 0:52 mark of the game, as Creighton went on a 10-0 run to take a six-point lead. Marquette narrowed the deficit to as little as four points, but free throws kept Creighton out in front until they crossed the finish line.
The main source of Marquette’s struggles was, coincidentally, exactly what our own Brooks Conrad said was their biggest weakness recently: Turnovers. Marquette committed an outrageous 22 turnovers on their 67 possessions. That mark got them a TO% of 32.8 percent, an eyesore to say the least. Howard and Joey Hauser were responsible of 11 of those 22 turnovers themselves, with Markus having committed six while Joey was charged with five. Eight of the 10 players to see the floor had at least one turnover and five of those eight had at least two.
Carrying the load for the Bluejays in the victory was the trio of Ty-Shon Alexander, Martin Krampelj and Mitch Ballock. Alexander, Krampelj and Ballock scored 45 of their team’s 66 points, with Krampelj leading the way with 19. Ballock added 12 points of his own while Alexander scored 14.
Ballock missed just one shot from the field, going 5-for-6 from the floor. Krampelj was 7-for-9 on 2-point tries and 1-for-4 on 3-pointers, while Ty-Shon was 3-for-11, but made it count at the line. Alexander went 7-for-8 on his FT tries, including some crucial ones down the stretch.
Despite his six turnovers, Markus Howard was Markus Howard again. He scored 33 points in 39 minutes and shot 11-for-21 from the floor. But outside of him, no one else on MU was able to really step up. Sacar Anim was second in the team in scoring in the loss to Creighton, and he had just seven points on the day. Joey Hauser scored six and Ed Morrow and Theo John had four, and no one else on the team had more than three.
This loss for Marquette certainly sets things up for a wild finish to the Big East regular season. The Golden Eagles are tied in the loss column with the Villanova Wildcats at the top of the conference. ‘Nova has one game remaining against the Seton Hall Pirates, who, sure enough, will play Marquette later this week on Wednesday. Depending on THAT result, we could either head into Saturday with a tie at the top of the standings yet again, OR, Villanova could yet again be in the driver’s seat to win the Big East regular season title. This even after the bumpy ride that ‘Nova has been on this season.
Meanwhile, the middle of the pack remains rather ridiculous. There are two games separating the teams standing 3rd-10th place right now. The Xavier Musketeers and Georgetown Hoyas are each 8-8. The St. John’s Red Storm, Creighton and Seton Hall have nine losses while the Butler Bulldogs, Providence Friars and DePaul Blue Demons are all 6-10. Creighton is just one game out of 3rd place and could certainly jostle themselves up into that spot if luck turns their way.
There’s really no other appropriate way to end this season than with total, complete chaos, right?