02.26.2010 / The Jays face off against Bradley. From the Creighton Athletic Office, The Voice of Billy Bluejay
Here's Bradley. . . In January 2008, the Jays lost a typical slugfest contest at Southern Illinois under the bright lights of ESPN College GameDay and the Saturday game of the week. This topped off a long stretch of futility that Creighton had experienced against their rivals from Carbondale, IL. That was the last time the Jays lost to the Salukis. With Tuesday night's gusty performance in the last game before SIU Arena is gutted and renovated in the off season, Creighton has won five straight games against the Salukis and posted back to back road wins against SIU after going seven years without one.
"The beauty of college basketball is that all things can change in the postseason."
The game started out without all of the normal hard nosed defense one expects from Creighton-SIU - the Jays lead 20-16 at the first media timeout, which didn't come until 13 minutes left in the first half. However, over the next several minutes, the Jays cooled off a bit and the Salukis kept firing on all cylinders. The Salukis, led by forward Carlton Fay's 13 first half points, broke out to a 36-28 lead in the first half and still led by four at halftime.
The second half continued as a nip and tuck affair throughout, but the Jays fought back and two crippling turnovers by the Salukis in the last minute set up a similar situation to what we saw in Omaha - the Jays with the ball in a tie game with the opportunity to take the last shot. SIU was able to block two shots in 2.4 seconds of game clock to ensure overtime. However, in overtime, it was all Creighton. The Jays quickly scored the first six points of the extra frame. The Jays used the benefit of a kick ball to work a 50 second possession draining much needed time for the Salukis. However, SIU was finally able to force a shot clock violation with 1:09 left and John Freeman was able to go to the line to make two foul shots to bring the game within three points. Young again was able to make a shot with 19 seconds to go and SIU would proceed to miss four shots to end the game.
Without question, the man of the night was the sophomore guard from Bellevue West, Antoine Young. Young's 22 points easily outpaced his previous career high. Also, Young was able to put aside the whole year's worth of struggles from the line and sink eight of nine foul shots. Kenny Lawson also put up his second straight double double with 12 points and 10 boards.
Now, all attention turns to Saturday afternoon and Senior Night against the Bradley Braves. Creighton is back above .500 for the year (15-14), is tied with the Braves for fourth place with a 9-8 record and cannot finish below sixth place, which will ensure that the Jays will not play on Thursday night in St. Louis.
Three Seniors-Cavel Witter, Justin Carter and Chad Millard-will be honored after the game. In fact, the last time the Jays played Bradley on Senior Day was in 2008, when Witter's 41 points powered the Jays to a 111-110 win in double overtime. While exciting, Jays fans surely are hoping for a more controlled environment than that on Saturday afternoon. The opportunity presents itself for the Jays now to put together three straight wins, which we have not yet done at any point this year, and to come into St. Louis with solid momentum for the conference tournament. Creighton has won the tournament title as a four seed previously. Even though this season has largely been forgettable against the standards that Creighton fans have come to expect, the beauty of college basketball is that all things can change in the postseason.
The MVC Tournament is just around the corner, are you planning on going? What are your thoughts on the tournament? Share your comments with other Jays fans.