"We've often been accused of not being able to win a mud fight. Today we did."
— Greg McDermott, after the game
The Creighton Bluejays held on to defeat St. John's, 66-65 on Saturday afternoon. It was a game where Creighton faced a lot of adversity, especially in the second half. The Bluejays 'Big 3' weren't as efficient as usual, and the shooting numbers were not good. Creighton shot just 22% (6-27) from three-point range. There has been no shortage of people saying that Creighton can't win these types of games. The games where points are hard to come by. Games where the threes aren't falling. Games where the stars aren't producing.
And yet, they did. Despite not making a field goal the last nearly five minutes of the game, they hung even with SJU during that stretch. Stifling, aggressive defense, and getting to the free throw line. Not usually known as Creighton strengths, they were today.
Baylor Scheierman picked up a technical foul with 9:45 left. Creighton had lost the momentum of the game prior to the tech, but it lit a spark under Scheierman and the crowd. The technical FT's made it 54-47. Creighton then rallied a 12-4 run — which tallied up to the winning margin of one point.
Baylor was playing like a man possessed down the stretch. Getting to the rim at will and playing sensational defense on the other end. It reminded me of the way Marcus Zegarowski would get fired up. One thing I felt Creighton lacked at times this season was emotion. Scheierman brought that tonight.
Ryan Kalkbrenner led the way offensively with 18 pts on 6-11 shooting. He also made an immense impact on the defensive end. On SJU's last two possessions, Kalkbrenner had a block and a tight contest, which helped secure the Creighton win.
Kalkbrenner continues to assert himself against other good bigs in the Big East. his counterpart, Joel Soriano, was held to just 13 pts on 5-11 shooting. Last outing, he held Josh Oduro to well under his season average as well.
Scheierman had 17 pts, keeping him atop the Big East in points scored. He also led the Jays with 12 rebounds. Trey Alexander went just 3-14 today, but hit two clutch FT's to take the lead in the final seconds. He remains very much the straw that stirs the drink, even when he has an off shooting night.
The other two starters, Miller and Ashworth, went 7-16 from the floor for 19 points. A much higher usage rate for both of them in this one. Ashworth played a much better game and was looking for his shot much more. He was the only Bluejay to hit more than one three point shot.
All in all, this a fairly big win for Creighton, who improves to 4-2 in the Big East. No team was going to go undefeated in Big East play. Each game is just such a gauntlet. But 4-2 puts them 'in position to be in position'.
The Jays will travel to Storrs and take on UConn next Wednesday.