Blue about bluejays

Isa Luzarraga, Entertainment Editor

The 10,000 spectators clad in shades of blue were dead silent. The only sounds were the squeaks of basketball sneakers on the polished hardwood of the CHI Health Center. Basketball teams Creighton and Seton Hall were tied with a few minutes left.

A close game, one would think, and an exciting one at that. But somehow every fan in those plastic seats, including me, knew the Bluejays  would give it all away. And as hundreds of people streamed towards the exits, they did.

Many wonder how the Creighton University Men’s Basketball team, with one of the top three point percentages in the country, got to this point. In the new year, the Jays have sunk to the bottom of the Big East conference, losing game after game by single digits, seemingly absent from talks regarding spots in the NCAA tournament.

Personally, I believe that this is due to the lack of leadership and mental toughness. With being such a young team, Creighton only has two seniors, both of who are previous transfers. Experience also plays a factor in the success of any sports program..

In the preseason, the Bluejays were ranked second to last in the Big East by a coaches poll. Everyone, including supporters, recognized that they were rebuilding, having recently lost a star senior and a NBA prospect.

But this young team defied all the odds when they went 3-0 in the Cayman Island Classic from Nov. 19-21. They even beat Clemson, 16th ranked team at the time. Sophomore Tyshon Alexander scored a career high of 36 points leading the Jays to an 87-82.

Following this big win, Creighton hosted #1 ranked Gonzaga at home. The Jays shot lights out, but ended up losing 103-92. Despite this loss, it exemplified the young talent and potential Creighton has. Other teams should be scared of them going into the Big East tournament.

With a lineup full of sharp shooters including Mitch Ballock, Davion Mintz, Marcus Zegarowski, and more, the Jays’s sweet spot is definitely beyond the arc. But when they aren’t shooting well and their defense suffers, you get games like fans have seen in Big East play.

Many games in January and February had Bluejays fans seeing red, specifically when they hosted Marquette at home. Up by 3 with a 0.8 seconds left, sophomore guard Ballock had possession of the ball. Throwing the ball away in the back court to avoid a five second call, he turned the ball over.

This proved to be fatal for the Bluejays as Marquette’s forward Sam Hauser hit a deep three pointer to force overtime. The Jays lost by 2 in overtime, a heartbreaking loss that they could’ve avoided had they had handled pressure a little better.

Many Creighton players have struggled with keeping their cool in close games. A key rebound or possession within the last couple minutes is usually complicit with how the game ends. Luckily as of Mar. 3, Creighton is on the upswing with a payback win against #10 ranked Marquette.

Hopefully this season was a learning experience for their young sophomore stars, and they will come back better and stronger than ever next season. The Bluejays will return with the tools and leadership necessary to let it fly.