Skip to content

Creighton’s key defensive stops set up an exciting finish

Feb 19, 2012, 1:59 AM EDT

image001-1

Long Beach State is going to have to win its league’s automatic bid if it want to make the conference tournament.

That’s just the way life is for the 49ers. Their two marquee wins — at Pitt and Xavier on a neutral court — don’t appear to be all that “marquee” as the Panthers and the Musketeers have had disappointing seasons. LBSU will have a good shot of running through their league undefeated, but when you play in the Big West, that is a feat that gets scoffed at on a national scale. Anyone can watch this team play and know that, assuming they get upset in their conference tournament, they are one of the 37 best at-large candidates, but if the profile doesn’t fit, the NIT it is.

But that should also give you a sense of just how impressive Creighton’s exhilarating, 81-79 win over Long Beach State on Saturday night was.

The Bluejays did not play their best game. That powerhouse offense, the one that is spurred on by a flock of sharpshooters, sputtered on Saturday. Creighton went 5-23 from beyond the arc, getting bailed out by Doug McDermott going for 36 points and 11 boards. Take away the 14-20 that he shot from the field, and the Bluejays shot just 40% from the floor.

When you rely on your shooting to win basketball games, off-nights like this can be killer. Creighton knows. Its why they went on that three-game losing streak earlier this month.

I’m a firm believer in the “clutch-factor”. I think there are certain players and certain teams that have the mental and physical wherewithal to make plays in the moments when the lights shine the brightest and the pressure is at its strongest. And while that generally applies to the offensive end of the floor — like, for example, the fact that Antoine Young hit the game-winner on Saturday two weeks after hitting a game-tying three at Northern Iowa with 4.6 seconds left — Creighton needs to be clutch defensively.

What I mean is that this group needs to be able to get big stops in crucial moments. From an efficency standpoint, Creighton is not a great defensive team. They don’t force a lot of turnovers and they don’t block a lot of shots. In other words, they don’t have a lot of defensive playmakers. As a result, they have a defense that ranks below-average.

The Bluejays score enough that they can hang with just about anyone in the country. What their season is going to come down to, however, is whether or not they can get the big stops in the big moments.

They’ve done it before. They did it tonight. And if they can continue with that trend, Creighton will have a chance to make some noise in March.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Latest Posts
  1. Five-star freshman still waiting to be cleared by NCAA to play at Kansas

    Aug 4, 2015, 10:33 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Cheick Diallo was rated as the fifth-best player in the Class of 2015.

  2. Minnesota will grant Jarvis Johnson a release if he were to pursue one

    Aug 4, 2015, 8:58 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Jarvis Johnson was not cleared to play at Minnesota back in mid-June.

  3. Four-star 2016 point guard Jaylen Fisher down to six schools

    Aug 4, 2015, 7:38 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The four-star point guard cut his list in half on Tuesday night.

  4. Student who accused Oregon players of sexual assault settles lawsuit for $800,000

    Aug 4, 2015, 5:24 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The lawsuit stems from an alleged incident back in March of 2014.

  5. Mamadi Diakite becomes Virginia’s third four-star recruit in Class of 2016

    Aug 4, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The 6-foot-9 power forward becomes the third four-star recruit in the Class of 2016 to commit to the Cavaliers.

  6. Virginia and Cal announce home and home series

    Aug 4, 2015, 3:01 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Both teams will be ranked in the preseason top 15 this season.

  7. Mississippi State wing arrested for driving on suspended license

    Aug 4, 2015, 1:52 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Xavier Stapleton is sitting out this season after transferring from Louisiana Tech.

  8. No. 2 prospect obliterates defender with a tip-dunk (VIDEO)

    Aug 4, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 10.01.12 AM

    This kid isn’t even a sophomore yet.

  9. Fixing his flaws: How Kris Dunn has attacked the two weaknesses in his game

    Aug 3, 2015, 11:59 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    There are two glaring weaknesses to Kris Dunn’s game. Here’s how he’s gone about trying to fix them this summer.

  10. Ball is Life offers a unique look at the Under Armour Association, road to Elite 24, in new video

    Aug 3, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Kelly Kline/adidas Kelly Kline/adidas

    A cool documentary-style approach to the Under Armour Association in preparation for the Elite 24.

  11. Nebraska hopes foreign trip can give young players experience

    Aug 3, 2015, 8:30 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Nebraska is hoping a four-game trip in Spain helps with their freshmen.

  12. Report: Baylor forward will leave the program

    Aug 3, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Baylor is losing a reserve forward to transfer.

  13. Report: Four-star forward could choose a school soon

    Aug 3, 2015, 4:50 PM EDT

    (Kelly Kline/adidas) (Kelly Kline/adidas)

    Mamadi Diakite, a four-star forward, could decide between three schools soon, per a report.

  14. Penn State lands their most important recruit in a decade in Tony Carr

    Aug 3, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT

    chambers Getty Images

    Tony Carr is a four-star point guard that picked Penn State over Maryland, SMU and Providence.

  15. Investigation funded by Illinois clears Illinois women’s coaches of racism claims

    Aug 3, 2015, 12:29 PM EDT

    Matt Bollant (AP Photo) AP

    The investigation was conducted by an outside law firm and paid for by the university.

  16. Five-star guard Rawle Alkins cuts his list to ten

    Aug 3, 2015, 12:05 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Alkins might be the best player from New York City since Lance Stephenson.