For the first time since 1974, the Creighton Bluejays are heading to the Sweet Sixteen.
Creighton picked up a 72-58 victory over the Ohio Bobcats in Monday’s second round game to move on to the second weekend of the tournament for the first time in school history, as the field was just 25 teams when the Bluejays last made the Sweet Sixteen.
The game was quite similar to Sunday evening’s Villanova/North Texas game. It started competitively, but once the Big East team (Creighton, obviously, in this case) got it going, the writing was on the wall. North Texas’ Jason Preston sunk a free throw with 7:30 left in the first half to put the Mean Green up 20-19, and then Creighton took over. Christian Bishop got the party started with a couple dunks, Damien Jefferson added a couple baskets, Marcus Zegarowski hit back to back threes, and before anyone could blink, it was halftime and the Bluejays were suddenly up 39-24 after going on a 20-5 run to end the half.
The second half was elementary for the Bluejays, as they stretched the lead as high as 21 points before coming away with the ultimate 14 point decision.
Zegarowski led the way with 20 points, but as is so often the case with Creighton, their scoring depth really came through, as all five starters had at least ten points. Jefferson finished with 15, Bishop had 12 (to go along with a career-best 15 rebounds), Denzel Mahoney had 11, and Mitch Ballock finished with 10. Shareef Mitchell was the only other Bluejay to score, finishing with four points.
Dwight Wilson led Ohio with 12 points. After his near triple-double in Ohio’s win over Virginia, Jason Preston struggled against Creighton, going 1-10 from the field for four points.
The Bluejays face a tall task in the Sweet Sixteen, as they’ll square off against #1 overall seed, Gonzaga.