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Morning After: Creighton Blows Out Georgetown Behind Barrage of Threes from Toby Hegner

Morning After: Creighton Blows Out Georgetown Behind Barrage of Threes from Toby Hegner

[Box Score]

Recap & Analysis:

In four previous trips to Georgetown since joining the Big East, Creighton had made 20 of their 93 three-point attempts (21%)…a stat that would look even worse if not for Doug McDermott and Co.’s 10-29 effort in 2014. They made 5-25 the next year, 4-21 in 2016, and 1-18 last year.

Given those shooting numbers, it’s little wonder why the Hoyas were the only opponent they’d not beaten on the road since coming into the league.

Saturday morning, they made 10 of 22 in the first half alone, led by Toby Hegner — a senior who had played in three of those losses, and was a redshirt freshman for the other. Hegner had never made a three in D.C., going a combined 0-7 in three previous trips, but hit a pair of threes in the first four minutes of this one. Davion Mintz also hit two 3’s in that span, and the Jays took a 12-3 lead to the first timeout.

The Jays believed Hegner could cause problems for the Hoya defense, after watching film of what Marquette’s stretch-big men were able to do against Georgetown. Early in the game, Hegner repeatedly set ball screens on the Hoyas’ 6’10” big man Jessie Govan, allowing a guard to penetrate the lane — which forced Govan to stop the dribble penetration, and leave Hegner either open behind the perimeter or guarded by a smaller player.

“These NBA rims are a little bit different,” Hegner said on the postgame radio show. “So it helped to make that first one, and then the couple after that were a little easier. But I give all the credit to my teammates for finding me in good positions to get shots up.”

“I can’t take any credit for that,” Mintz commented to the Jays’ radio announcers. “Toby hit every single shot that I passed to him!”

And when the Hoyas countered, Creighton attacked by throwing a lob over the top to Martin Krampelj for a dunk.

Seven straight points from Khyri Thomas followed, including a three in transition thanks to a steal by Hegner — generally, those roles are reversed, but it was that kind of day — and with the Jays up 21-11, they forced Patrick Ewing into an early timeout.

Creighton’s offense kept Georgetown off-balance all afternoon with some of their best ball-movement of the season. They had an assist on 14 of their first 15 made field goals, led by Mintz who dished out five dimes in the first half alone. Hegner nailed two more 3’s during an 11-0 run late in the half, as the Bluejays built a 45-21 lead.

“My staff came in after our initial warm-up this morning and said that this is the most intense and locked-in we’ve been during warmups in a long time,” Coach Greg McDermott said on his postgame radio show. “Obviously it showed at the beginning of the game. We were really crisp with our ball movement. I thought it was Davion Mintz’ best half as a Bluejay. And when Toby is hitting shots, it changes everything they do defensively.”

Ghosts of Georgetown Losses Past revisited them in the final moments of the half, as the Hoyas put on a full-court press and forced four turnovers in the last minute. CU had committed just three turnovers the first 19 minutes of the half, but much like the epic meltdown in 2016, they had trouble getting the ball inbounds against the Hoyas’ press, and then once they did, they had trouble getting the ball across half court. The 6-0 Georgetown run to end the half gave them a bit of momentum, and cut the Jays’ lead to 18 at 45-27.

But there would be no second half drama this time. Marcus Foster hit a three on the first possession, then stole the ball on the Hoyas’ next trip downcourt and found Hegner for a layup. No one in Omaha saw this, mind you, as Fox Sports had technical difficulties during halftime and switched to a replay of the Georgetown-DePaul game from earlier in the week for several frustrating minutes. By the time they rejoined coverage, Mintz and Krampelj had each hit threes, as well, and the lead was 56-33 Creighton.

After that early barrage, the outcome was never in doubt, and the Jays were able to get Jordan Scurry, Manny Suarez, and most notably Kaleb Joseph onto the floor for an extended run. Joseph drove inside for a contested layup that pushed the lead past 30 for the first time.

Back-to-back buckets by Scurry and Suarez gave CU their largest lead at 90-58. Scurry’s came on a reverse after driving the baseline:

And Suarez’ came on a dunk where the Hoyas seemed disinterested in guarding the paint — or from stopping dribble penetration by a lumbering big man. He shot-faked a defender behind the perimeter, then used two dribbles to get to the rim.

Moments later, Joseph showed off his athleticism with this ridiculous block (well, goaltend, but still…)

CU had been 0-4 at Georgetown, and the players were acutely aware of that fact. “We knew how important this win was for our seniors,” Mintz said on the postgame show. “This is our first win at Georgetown, and the rest of the team knew we had to make things happen today to get a win for them.”

Key Stats:

In the first half, Creighton had 16 assists on 17 made field goals, and on 20 of their first 22. The Jays’ 24 assists for the game were their second-most in a game since joining the Big East.

Creighton hits on 10 of their first 22 three-point attempts (and 15 of their first 27). Some late misses dropped their percentage down to 16-36 for the game, but they were red-hot from three-point range when the outcome was in doubt.

Standout Performance:

Toby Hegner led the team in scoring with 19 points, two shy of his career high, and hit five 3-pointers. He also had three rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal. And while that’s all good stuff, his work defensively on Jessie Govan should not go unnoticed. Repeatedly, he held his ground while playing behind the Hoyas’ big man, and denied him the ball while playing in front of him. He battled and frustrated Govan, and was a big reason he was held to just seven shot attempts and seven total points. He’d been averaging 12 shots a game, and 18.1 points, and was held well under both numbers.

Davion Mintz also had a big afternoon, matching a career high with 17 points, while adding six assists and zero turnovers in 21 minutes. It was a heck of a response to sitting on the bench in favor of freshman Ty-Shon Alexander for the stretch run of Wednesday’s win over St. John’s.

Those two performances were even more huge since they came on a day where Marcus Foster struggled massively, scoring nine points on 3-14 shooting. It snapped a 33-game streak of scoring in double figures for Foster, and was just the third time in his Creighton career he’s not scored 10 or more in a game.

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