Creighton didn't need any miracles, they didn't even need a lot of defense Sunday. They just needed to find the open man.
There were a lot of them. The Bluejays took advantage of a soft perimeter defense by Akron to shoot 10-for-22 from 3-point range while taking out the Zips 77-61.
The biggest recipient of the open-man game: Doug McDermott. The junior continued to add to his legend this season, going 6-for-8 from deep and 10 of 15 overall on his way to 30 points.
The final score heartily represents the struggles of Akron of defense. If Creighton would have kept running inside, as they tried to do in the early part of the game, it was a no go. Zeke Marshall and Nick Harney were very good at controlling the paint for the Zips.
The forwards pushed Creighton outside. They made McDermott resort to a couple of scoop baskets that were only possible because of his length. They made life difficult.
But the guards couldn't accomplish the same. They were soft and tried too hard to overcompensate. It became too easy with the passing of the Bluejays to stop the 3-pointers from raining down.
If Akron could have had the had the same success shooting the ball inside as Creighton did on the perimeter, this could have been a different game. Here was a Creighton team that didn't quite seem to have the ability to contend with the larger forwards on Akron. Could this be the Bluejay weakness? Could this be the secret to bringing down the mid-major giant?
Creighton couldn't score inside, and defending the lane was difficult for them. Look at the shooting of Harney and Marshall. Outside of the two 3-pointers that Harney took, they duo were 10-for-14. Now put anyone else around them that could shoot today, and the Bluejays are in trouble. Just put too more accomplished players on the inside and Creighton goes down.
Even if you look at the way that Boise State's Derrick Marks scored 35 points against Creighton in the Jays' only loss, you can see that it came getting inside on them. The rest of the defense was soft that day too, but a team with this many top forwards shouldn't be struggling to keep opponents out of the lane like this.
Creighton was good enough Sunday. If the long-range shooting isn't there, this is a different game. If the Zips had gotten anything from Alex Abreu this is a different game.
Man it looks good on the scoreboard and in the books, but watching, there were certainly times when you could see the concerns that have to be running through Greg McDermott's head.
A few weeks ago, this team looked unbeatable with the way they were able to dismantle Wisconsin. This time out, against a front court that isn't as deep, but still formidable, they looked different.
A win is a win. This one just wasn't created equal.