The Creighton Bluejays are Big East Champions.
Well, yeah, we know. They’re just co-champions along with the Villanova Wildcats and Seton Hall Pirates, whom Creighton deftly defeated 77-60 on Saturday afternoon in Omaha. And as a result of that 17-point win, the Jays can say they’re a conference regular season champ for the first time since 2013, when they won the Missouri Valley title outright.
Creighton was ready to trade blows from the jump. But Seton Hall hopped out to a five-point advantage by the 12:56 and then the 12:08 mark in the first half. But the switch flipped a bit after that. Creighton tipped the scales in their favor as they went on a 17-6 run to bring them ahead 27-21. Seton Hall would answer with a run of their own, and overtook the lead 28-27 with 2:55 remaining.
The teams would trade some blows in the final three minutes, and went into the half tied up at 32. It would be imperative for both teams to strike and strike quickly coming out of the gate. So too they did. They went punch-counterpunch for quite some time. While Seton Hall balanced things out with a mix of 2-pointers and 3-pointers, Creighton let it fly. The Bluejays knocked down four 3-pointers in the first eight minutes of the second half. This thanks in part to the efforts of Mitch Ballock, Denzel Mahoney and Marcus Zegarowski. But still, Seton Hall was active. They took a three point lead after a run from the 11:25 mark to the 9:21 mark, built up y two 3-pointers from Quincy McKnight and Jared Rhoden, and a dunk by Romaro Gill.
CU wouldn’t sit idly though. Quite the opposite. Christian Bishop hit a layup and 1 to tie the game up. Then Zegarowski would hit a layup on a fast break and Ballock would follow suit to prop their lead up to four. The two teams exchanged blows again, and Zegarowski hit one from deep to give them a five point lead. Then, Ty-Shon Alexander would arrive with a layup to prop the lead up to seven.
Following a 3-ball from Myles Powell, Mahoney answered with a 3-ball of his own. McKnight hit a tip-in, but then Alexander came flying in again with a 3-pointer. That was followed up by a jumper from Damien Jefferson, and suddenly the Jays had a 10-point lead with 3:03 to play. Powell would hit a free throw less than 15 seconds later, but then the Bluejays went into close out mode. Mahoney hit a jumper, Alexander knocked down a 3-pointer and Mahoney followed up with one of his own.
With pandemonium all around the arena, Creighton would celebrate their regular season championship just a minute and change later. And heading into the Big East Tournament, the top-seeded Bluejays may be vying for one of their highest NCAA Tournament seeds in program history now. It’s quite the time for Creighton, and make no mistake: They are really damn good, and deserve all the praise and partying they may get and take in.