Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports
One of the most efficient offenses in the country played one of their best defensive games all season - and rendered it moot with their inability to hit any shot with consistency.
The following will tell you everything you need to know about where it all went wrong for Creighton.
- Ryan Kelly, the stud scorer who helped lead the Blue Devils all season, recorded his third foul with 3:19 left in the first half. He did not foul out.
- Mason Plumlee, who was the Devils leading scorer all season, recorded his fourth foul with 17:48 to play in the game. He didn't foul out until the last two minutes.
- Doug McDermott made the Jays' first three-point shot with 13:53 left in the first half to cut the score to 11-7. They did not make another three until there was 1:24 left , finishing 2-for-19 from long range.
And it wasn't a matter of Kelly and Plumlee not being able to foul because they sat - they still played 28 and 27 points, respectively. As fun as it was to watch Plumlee be absolutely flummoxed by a defender - Gregory Echenique - who he couldn't muscle off the ball, the Blue Devils eventually adjusted, since Echenique isn't talented enough offensively to be on the court when Plumlee sat.
That last point is key as well. Creighton succeeded this season because they were a great three-point shooting team, and the fact that they were playing excellent defense (much, much better defense that I had seen them play all season) was rendered null and void by their inability to make a shot on offense. This was only compounded by their inability to make a three once they got far enough behind that they needed them to catch up.
I hope this wasn't Doug McDermott's last season with the Jays, as he could use the seasoning the new Big East will give him, but these are the last words we here at Mid-Major Madness will write in his corner. As nice as his 21 points and 9 rebounds were, his getting it on 4-for-16 shooting was too little too late. The lack of another double-digit scorer and only three points from the bench sealed the deal for Creighton.