12.28.2009 / The Jays take on the Mavs! From the Creighton Athletic Office, The Voice of Billy Bluejay.
On Saturday night, Jays fans were having a hard time not sensing a feeling of deja vu. Once again, we watched the Jays go up against a top 25 caliber team on the road or in a neutral site and the Jays showed they were more than capable of competing and building early leads. However, we saw the team falter down the stretch with turnovers and the inability to hit shots in the clutch and once again we ended up just short on the final scoreboard.
"The season's goal now is to compete for the Valley regular season title and to put them in position to put it all together in St. Louis."
In the first half, the Jays were working as a unit, making crisp moves and passes on offense and taking advantage of atrocious shooting from the field by #19 New Mexico(UNM). At the half, the Jays were 72% from the field while the Lobos were shooting 21%. The Jays had put UNM down by 16 with just under 6 minutes left in the first half which was the largest deficit that coach Steve Alford’s team has faced at any point in the season. In fact, the only thing keeping the Lobos within striking distance at 40-28 at the break was the 13 Bluejay turnovers.
After halftime, while the Lobos still weren’t tearing things up from the field (40% from the field in the second half to finish the night at a 30% clip), the Jays threw up their own flurry of missed shots to match New Mexico’s 21% first half shooting percentage to close the game. To make it all the more frustrating, even with the 18 total turnovers and the terrible shooting percentage in the second half: the Jays had a chance right down to the last seconds and were never able to finish the pivotal play.
Now we set with just one more game left in the non-conference schedule with a Tuesday slate with Houston Baptist. At best, we will go into the start of Missouri Valley play with a 5-6 record. We are going to enter a very pivotal time frame for the team. At this point, Creighton doesn’t have any illusions that we are looking to build an at-large resume. The key at this point is to wipe the slate clean for the start of conference play and to bring the intensity that was expected out of a team picked 2nd in the league. The season’s goal now is to compete for the Valley regular season title and to put them in position to put it all together in St. Louis. Before we can get to that point, however, the task facing Dana Altman and his staff is to keep the team mentally focused and to avoid the tendency to feel like the season has slipped away. It’s true that the great streaks that this program has prided itself on, namely the string of 20 win seasons and postseason bids look in danger at this point. This is an opportunity, however, to build unity through adversity and show an inner toughness that many don’t expect to see. It’s certainly not the position that the players, coaches or fans expected to be in, but character can be demonstrated in all sorts of situations and the young men that wear our school’s colors have a large one in front of them now.
What did you think of last week’s game? Let us know what you think of the Jays.