When the season began, many put an "L" next to the Bluejays game at Wichita. Winning in the Valley on the road was going to be tough and the Shockers run to the Sweet Sixteen last year left many Jays fans worried about the game. However, last night inside Koch Arena, CU blew a chance to get a big road win that could come back to haunt them.
The team was sloppy as they continued the tread of 2 steps forward - 1 step back this season. Last night was the step back - a 62-59 loss to their rival who had previous lost 6 of 8. Creighton could have stood alone atop the MVC but they committed 14 turnovers, many on important possessions late in the game. Allowing the Shox's Paul Wilson to shoot 3's at will on his way to a career high 25 points (18 in the first half) also killed their chances of stealing a road win.
Yet, even with the sloppy play and bad perimeter defense, CU was in the game and had a chance to win. Nate Funk who missed 2 of 3 big free throws with under a minute to play, had a 3 pointer blocked as time ran out. I felt like Nate forced the shot and somebody should have been set up - Nick Bahe anyone? - to take that 3. Everyone on the planet knew that Funk was going to shoot it - it was too easy of a play to stop. With 7 seconds left, I would have rather seen the Jays run something else rather than just dribble up to the line and jack it.
Creighton was streaky again in this game. Streaky with shooting. Streaky with their defense. Streaky with protecting the ball. And Streaky with their focus. Unfortunately, the last run the team made wasn't enough as time ran out.
Remember this loss to Wichita. Something tells me that in the race for the Valley Regular Season Crown - this one will really hurt. The Conference is too tight to blow games that you should have won. The Shox can say they have their swagger back all they want - but the Jays should be 6-1 in the MVC. They are not and now have Bradley and arch-rival SIU at home next.
It's a crucial stretch for the Jays . If they want to win the Valley and bid to the dance for sure - they must go 2-0 this week at home.