Before the game started Marcus Foster was brought out to half court and handed a basketball that commemorated the 1,000th point in his collegiate basketball career. This seemed to set some sort of ‘tone’ for how he’d play in the first half of this game, as he poured in 13 of the first 16 points for Creighton.
The energy on the defensive end was pretty stout for the Jays. One may be worried about the gigantic human the Zips placed under the basket in Isaiah Johnson, a 6’10 290lb senior, but the Jays’ double team kept him from making much noise, He committed many turnovers and looked out of sorts when Toby Hegner and Justin Patton/Martin Krampelj put their armpits into his grill.
The one problem with doubling the post over and over and over again is that it leaves a guy wide open in the corner for a three, which they cashed in on many times. You’re aware of this, I’m aware of this, your dad is aware of this, but Akron isn’t a prolific three point shooting club so one may as well let them chuck prayers up all game.
Justin Patton was quiet in the first half, probably because of the mountain of the man that was covering him, but he did scrape together a couple of boards. Again, offense from the remainder of the Bluejay club was pretty unnecessary considering how hot Foster was. The first half showcased everything Foster has to offer:
- step back 3’s
- step back jumpers
- good defense
- a winning attitude
- a good chef
- nice gray shoes
- rolled up waistband
- 3’s in transition
- drives to the rim
That’s just a short list, I had about 100 more bullet points that are now safely saved in a 1996 Microsoft Word document.
There was a point in time in this game, around the 4 minute mark, where the referees completely lost their minds and started calling phantom fouls on both teams, notably on Maurice Watson Jr., who was somersaulting on the hardwood when the foul was called on him. The crowd responded to this poor officiating with a chorus of “boos” and promptly told the referees to go back to ref school or something.
I don’t know, Creighton had a lead the entire half and Marcus Foster was most excellent, so it was a pretty typical night at the CLink.
Halftime Score: 37-30
The second half rolled in lazily as it’s supposed to on a snowy, chilly Saturday night. It seemed as if all things were going to go in a very typical fashion in this family-friendly arena until Maurice Watson Jr., connected with Marcus Foster on an alley-oop. It was the kind of alley-oop that, from my perspective, I couldn’t see formulating because Patton and Johnson were in the way, so when Foster flew in from out of nowhere to receive the pass it was something out of an Evel Knievel special.
Then, out of nowhere, Cole Huff caught fire. He stayed back on the offensive side after a scrum for a ball, eventually ending up with a wide open dunk. From there he was lights out, connecting on two consecutive three pointers to push Creighton’s lead to double digits.
At this point the Akron Zips just sort of folded. The air that they had left in their lungs was squeezed out when Justin Patton received an alley-oop - his first of the game. The Zips were then pronounced dead when Marcus Foster received a near full-court pass from Justin Patton to send home a vicious dunk.
Seriously. The Zips were dead. Akron point guard Antino Jackson Jr., sat and watched the shot clock run out on an offensive possession because he no longer had any desire to continue playing this game.
In my last recap I wrote about how teams that play Creighton inevitably have a time of death. Buffalo lasted 28 minutes. Tonight, Akron lasted about 27:30, which is a pretty good mark, nothing to be ashamed of. If you want to run with these guys you’ve got to figure out a way to stay alive as long as possible, and no team has done it quite yet.
When the opponent fades away the game becomes a but of a chore. It’s just waiting for the inevitable. If you’ve ever grown produce you can relate to this adage. If you’ve ever waited too long to get your oil changed you can probably relate to this. If you’ve ever been a Cleveland Browns fan then you’re perpetually in a state of waiting for the inevitable end.
Akron started making a run between the 6:30 and 3:30 mark in the second half, closing Creighton’s 17 point lead down to 11 points. Akron would continue to pressure the Jays, occasionally getting their deficit down to 8, but to no avail, it just wasn’t enough.