Creighton narrowly, and we mean narrowly avoided danger on Wednesday.
Down one, UCSB had possession and a chance to win the game. Amadou Sow went in for a layup but missed by (<—) that much and couldn’t get it to fall. A late heave didn’t register, and the Bluejays escaped with a 63-62 win.
Advancing in the tournament was not something many thought they’d do. 27 percent of ESPN Tournament Challenge brackets had UCSB pulling off the famed 12-5 upset, the second-most popular pick. But the Bluejays foiled that 27 percent, as Creighton is now on through to the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32.
The opening round win was crucially aided by the likes of Christian Bishop. Bishop, not known for his free-throw shooting, made two late chances with 16 seconds remaining. Those buckets gave the Jays the lead they wouldn’t relinquish. BIshop’s heroics proved pivotal in deciding this one, so if they start a run, that moment will be remembered as the jump-off.
Marcus Zegarowski led with 17 points, while the above-mentioned Bishop finished with 15. Denzel Mahoney joined the two in double figures, scoring 13 points on the afternoon. Damien Jefferson and Mitch Ballock both finished with eight, two shy of hitting double figures like their teammates. But, both made contributions enough to help lift the team to a win.
UCSB was led by Jaquori McLaughlin and Miles Norris, who each scored 13. Sow scored 12 and Devearl Ramsey finished with 11.
Creighton will play 13-seeded Ohio on Monday after the Bobcats’ shocking upset win over 4-seeded Virginia. Time, location, and TV information have yet to be disclosed.