While streaming Villanova’s road game against the Creighton BlueJays (21-4, 11-2 Big East) may not have been the best quality, the roaring of the CenturyLink Center Omaha could be heard loud and clear.
Wildcat fans, players, and coaches alike are wondering, Why? What causes this team to completely breakdown when facing the BlueJays? Sunday’s 101-80 loss did reassure Wildcat fans one thing;
Doug McDermott is Villanova’s kryptonite.
What was for most of the first half a close game, took a drastic turn for the worst in the last five minutes before halftime. 6-foot-8 All-American Doug McDermott scored 22 of his career high 39 points in the first half while completely abusing Nova’s Darrun Hilliard who unfortunately picked the short straw and had to cover this college basketball superstar. Hilliard, who’s coming off a season high 22 points at DePaul was limited to just 9 points and on defense struggled to stop anything McDermott threw his way. He picked up 3 fouls early on sending him to the bench for a solid portion of Sunday’s game.
Daniel Ochefu’s made jumper in the first minute of play gave Villanova their only lead of the entire game. For the next 15 minutes the Wildcats trailed anywhere between 4-6 points before McDermott and and Creighton offense broke free with 4 minutes remaining in the first half going on a 7-0 run heading into the locker room with a comfortable 50-37 lead.
Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono who for the second time in row was anything but a factor against the BlueJays. Normally the centerpiece to the Wildcat’s offense, the sophomore scored a mere 5 points and dished 3 assists.
Putting all the blame on coach Jay Wright for this blowout loss would not be accurate. However, Wright was out-coached by Creighton HC Greg McDermott. Anytime the BlueJay offense noticed a mismatch, whether it be Arcidiacono on McDermott, or Ochefu on BlueJay Austin Chatman, Creighton used these opportunities to their full advantage and produced baskets. EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Whatever Coach Wright said to his team at halftime, well, it didn’t change the way the game was going for his No. 6 ranked team. The main problem in the second 20-minute period was not getting the ball in the net for the Wildcats, it was preventing the BlueJay offense from scoring every possession. To the team’s credit, Creighton’s scoring palooza did not come from uncontested 3 pointers or easy lay-ups down low. The scoring came from hard drives to the paint and numerous foul shots thanks to unnecessary frustration fouls. Including a called flagrant by Villanova’s James Bell when he shoved McDermott to the ground late in the second half.
Did Doug McDermott flop? Yes, he most certainly did. But he saw his opportunity to set off a flustered Bell and sold it very well.
This loss to Creighton gives the Wildcats (22-3, 10-2) their third loss of the season . Two of which now coming from the BlueJays, while the other to No. 2 Syracuse. The Wildcats will look to bounce back from this beat-down when they travel to Providence on Wednesday. Game-time is set for 7:00pm. Something to note; Creighton’s worse loss on the season comes from Providence (17-9, 7-6). So on paper, this should be an easy W for the Wildcats.
But no guarantees.