GAME: After watching the interminable end of Wednesday night’s Butler upset of Villanova complete with court-storming and post-game interviews I thought to myself, self, if Saint John’s upsets Creighton tonight at Carnesecca Arena they’ll be in sole possession of first place in the Big East since I can’t be arsed to look it up. Which not looking it up is just as well because Saint John’s did not upset Creighton at Carnesecca Arena, instead they lost 85-72. That they did was entirely predictable because this was let’s face it a bad matchup: Creighton starts three upperclassmen, one of them a point guard senior that’s as quick as either of our freshmen and three times as fast as any of our sophomores; they have a dominating big man – Patton looked like a lottery pick Wednesday night although some of that was undoubtedly the competition and some of it was that the referees allowed him to stand around in the lane long enough to grow roots; and head coach Doug McDermott’s father is smart enough to take advantage of those advantages, which he did by forcing the pace on offense and packing it in on defense. You couldn’t create a team in the laboratory that was better designed to kick our teeth in. And yet the good news is that Saint John’s – and I don’t want to sound like a Pollyanna here but – didn’t give up. There were a bunch of times they could have thrown in the towel like they did last year when they lost to Creighton by 40 on the road and instead they came back from an 18 point halftime deficit thanks to yet another amazing display of halftime adjustments by coaches Mullin and Saint Jean and cut it to ten a bunch of times where it seemed like they were just one big play or one lucky one away from making it a ballgame. But then one of Creighton’s upperclassmen would make a play or one of our cretin underclassmen wouldn’t and it’d be back to 14. Oh well … There’s no point in rehashing the game when a picture’s worth a thousand words, even a thousand of mine:
For those of you scoring at home Saint John’s is the red line. Similarly pointless is examination of the box score: CU shot 52 percent, SJU shot 40 percent; Saint John’s was 7-22 from three; rebounds were even at 40; turnovers were even at eight. The only vaguely interesting thing about the numbers is free throws: Saint John’s did not shoot a single free throw until 13:29 in the second half – by then Creighton had shot ten. In the next three minutes someone called Toby Hegner – who prior to that had played immaculate defense – committed three fouls in 2 minutes; in the next 10 minutes Justin Patton committed a foul every 2 minutes and fouled out. It was as if suddenly the heavens opened above the parted Red Sea and the whistles multiplied like loaves and fishes. What really happened is that SJU started attacking the basket a little more aggressively and the referees started calling things a little more aggressively because things were starting to get a little chippy. Of course probably things wouldn’t have started to get chippy if the refs had called things a little more squarely early on. Which is not to blame them for the loss because that would be a pussy move and Creighton is a much better team than we are but noticing it is something else altogether, especially when you have 2000 words to write.
PLAYERS: Lovett played 38 minutes and led Saint John’s with 23 points, including 4 of 5 from three … Tariq Owens had 12 points and five rebounds – four of his field goals came on face-up 15 foot jump shots which if that wasn’t an aberration that could be huge moving forward … Ponds had 17 points and five rebounds. Got T’ed up as part of a double technical late in the second half while the players were jostling for position on an inbounds play under the basket. Seems out of character … Ahmed had six points and seven rebounds. The refs did him no favors by ignoring contact on his drives to the basket – he shot three free throws in a game where he was the victim of six misdemeanors … Ellison had seven of Saint John’s 12 assists and also five rebounds but was 3 of 10 from the floor and one of six from three. Perhaps if he thought less about shooting he could spend more time concentrating on not passing the ball to the pep band … Darien Williams had four rebounds and no points but only played 12 minutes …. Yawke had one rebound in only ten minutes and bungled a bunch of chances under the basket. Seems to have reverted to November Yawke whereas I preferred December Yawke … Alibegowitz finally made a layup using that stupid eurostep he tries at least once a game and afterwards stood under the basket pounding his chest and howling at the crowd like he’d just scored the winning touchdown in the Super bowl in overtime. Whereas in fact he’d just drawn his .500 team – which has won three league games since March 2015 – within 13 points in what would prove to be a losing effort. Which is about like one of Napoleon’s infantryman pounding his chest over the corpse of a dead Russian peasant during the retreat from Moscow … A halfhearted cheer from the crowd greeted the long awaited return of Federico Missini from the mysterious infection that had sidelined him during Saint John’s three game winning streak. I note without postulating causation that his return coincided with that streak’s end. Missini made two threes, one to draw Saint John’s within 18 at the end of the first half and one to draw Saint John’s to within 19 at the beginning of the second half, so it’s good to know he hasn’t lost his ability to drain clutch shots. In my favorite sequence late in the second half he missed a three early in the shot clock that would have drawn SJU with seven, then turned the ball over on the break after a Creighton miss and then fouled the Creighton player who ended up with the ball, making him singlehandedly responsible for a seven-point turnaround. Those of you who continue to write accusing me of acting uncharitably towards Missini because he is slow, weak, and cannot cover or jump over a brick will be happy to hear that I ascribe that display of incompetence to rust.
NOTES: Once again not too much here. I went back and looked at what I wrote about Creighton over the past several years and the most interesting thing was a bit about Kelly Cuoco’s ass and that I only wrote so I could stick her picture at the top of the post in an attempt to tempt to my blog readers who cannot otherwise locate pictures of near naked broads on the internet. The rest of it was about how Nebraska is a big flat pile of nothing, behind which every word I stand – much like I’d like to stand behind Kelly Cuoco, or at least kneel – but there’s no need repeating it …. Breaking news from North Carolina: DooK Coach Mike Krswshrehy – who injured his back after falling from the top of a clock where he had taken refuge from the farmer’s wife – will undergo back surgery and miss up to a month of the season. Upon hearing the tragic news the NCAA immediately sprang into action and announced that Skrewshnski’s absence will be factored into Dewk’s seeding in the NCAA tournament because of course it will. Oddly I don’t remember any similar announcement when Jim Calhoun or Jim Boeheim missed parts of their seasons recuperating from cancer – and Calhoun is at this point more tumor than healthy tissue; and if missing time recuperating from surgery is a qualification for the NCAA grading on a curve our own Steve Lavin should be awarded a retroactive national championship. Meanwhile there’s been no action by the NCAA regarding allegations that no athlete at the University of North Carolina has attended a single class since Saint John’s own Frank McGuire headed the program. Don’t worry though the Thomas More College women’s basketball program is still on probation and facing the death penalty. And finally the repulsive Grayson Allen returned to action last night after an “indefinite suspension” which turned out to be one game because of course it did. Allen you may recall attempted to cripple a player from mighty Elon College in a meaningless preseason game a couple of weeks ago and was disciplined because there are more important things than winning. That this is happening in North Carolina a state the NCAA punished for passing a discriminatory law mandating that men should use bathrooms designed for humans with penises I find highly amusing, but not for the reasons you might think …