Bluejay Rewind: Jays vs Missouri State (03/03/2007)
Before Doug McDermott’s 2012 MVC Tournament performance, where he scored a Creighton-best 73 points in three days, the best individual offensive feat by a Bluejay in Arch Madness was Nate Funk’s weekend in 2007. It began inconspicuously enough, with the senior guard scoring 14 points — three below his season average — in a quarterfinal win over Indiana State. But on Semifinal Saturday, he exploded for 33, going 10-15 from the floor, 3-6 from three-point range, and a perfect 10-10 at the line. His 33 points were a school record for the tourney until McDermott equaled it in the 2012 MVC Championship Game.
In the title game, Funk scored 19 to cap a weekend where he scored an amazing 66 points in three games, which was the school record until McDermott broke it in 2012 by scoring an even more amazing 73 over three games. Likewise, Funk’s 24 field goals for the tournament was the school record until it was matched by McDermott, who also made 24 in the 2012 tourney.
McDermott had games in St. Louis that were as good, but I’m not sure he had any that were better than that semifinal performance by Funk — it was the very definition of stuffing the stat sheet, and even that doesn’t really do it justice. In addition to his 33 points, he had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals, all while playing 38 minutes and doing the bulk of the ball-handling duties against the Bears defense.
“We’ve had a lot of good performances here but I’m not sure we’ve ever had a better one,” Creighton coach Dana Altman gushed after the game. “Everybody is going to look at the scoring, but he also had eight rebounds, defensively he didn’t lose his focus and he handled the ball all night and didn’t give it up much.”
He didn’t do it alone, of course. Creighton’s seniors scored 65 of their 75 points, including the first 28 of the first half and the first 24 of the second stanza. Nick Porter had 19 points and 13 rebounds for his first career double-double, and Anthony Tolliver had 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot despite battling foul trouble.
Down the stretch, the Jays iced the game by scoring 13 of their final 15 points at the line, with Funk going a perfect 4-4 at the stripe. The 75-58 win set up a championship game tilt with their nemesis, the Southern Illinois Salukis, a team the Jays had lost eight straight games to. Given that fact and the stakes, it was no surprise that Funk wasn’t interested in gloating over his semifinal scoring outburst.
“I don’t sleep well after games,” Funk told the media afterward. “I have another one coming up tomorrow, and this isn’t over yet. We didn’t come here to win two games. We want to win that last one.”
That last one will be the focus of the next Bluejay Rewind, coming tomorrow.
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