First of all, I think it’s time to stop talking about this so-called “curse” of the black jerseys. Just silly.
Two previous mid-majors met up on Saturday afternoon in a high-level matchup in Omaha. Creighton couldn’t miss a shot in the 1st half but all good things must come to an end. Gonzaga turned it up in the 2nd half thanks to a stellar performance from Zach “Snacks” Norvell (who was eating today!). He may have only shot 6-17 from beyond the arc but I can’t emphasize enough how much of an impact Norvell had on this game. He put on a shooting clinic in that first 10 minutes of the 2nd half that took the game right away from the Bluejays. The Bulldogs continue their winning streak as they improve to a perfect 8-0 on the season.
Gonzaga vs Creighton Observations:
- Was it more of an issue of Gonzaga’s perimeter defense in the 1st half or is Creighton just that good of a three-point shooting team? Bluejays shot 9-20 (45%) from beyond the arc in the 1st half. Gonzaga was only 3-10 from the three-point line at the half.
- Norvell was struggling (2-8 FG) in the 1st half but that’s typical of Snacks. Everyone knew he going to switch it on.
- When Perkins was on the bench because of foul trouble, that’s when Creighton capitalized. Lets hope he won’t have to deal with getting those early fouls against Washington, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
- Rui was finding an easy path to the rim. Only played 10 minutes in the 1st half and scored 11 points.
- Last year when Gonzaga beat Creighton in Spokane, the Zags were down by 7 after twenty minutes of play. Nothing to worry about.
- Norvell had the hot hand after struggling in the 1st half. He scored 23 points in the 2nd half.
Zach Norvell might be the most fearless shooter college basketball has seen since Rashad Anderson was at UConn. Can miss 10 shots in a row and be unfazed. Zero conscience.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) December 1, 2018
- Gonzaga scored a lot more points in the paint than Creighton.
- Gonzaga only had one block in the 1st half and finished with 3 blocks, a season-low.
- Mark Few was going strong with that 7-man rotation. Greg Foster Jr. played a few minutes in the 1st half when Perkins got in foul trouble but didn’t really touch the floor after that.
- We knew this was going to be an offensive battle. In the 2nd half, Gonzaga scored 62 of their 103 points.
- 3 Gonzaga players finished with 20+ points. Rui Hachimura (22 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals), Zach Norvell (28 points, 5 rebounds), Brandon Clarke (27 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals).
- Perkins continues to be one of the best point guards in the nation. 13 points, 13 assists, and only 1 turnover.
- Gonzaga shot 22-27 from the free-throw line and won the rebound battle, 41-34.
- Creighton has a bright future as long as Ty-Shon Alexander (27 points, 5 rebounds) is on the floor. I can see the Bluejays being a second-weekend team in March.
Rui’s got the moves! pic.twitter.com/BcjowiyR5w— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) December 1, 2018
Time to get ready for an in-state battle as Washington travels to Spokane on Wednesday. I predict a 15+ win for the Zags. Can’t wait.
*Arden Cravalho is a senior at Gonzaga University... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho