Creighton can relish return to Sweet 16 — for now

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This is no time to be a killjoy, not after the Creighton Bluejays advanced for the first time to the Sweet 16 since the NCAA Tournament expanded in 1985.

This is no time to be Hatin’ on Creighton, no sir, no ma’am.

Hardly a perfect team, hardly a team that has opponents cowering in fear, hardly a team that reminds anyone of Bobby Knight’s unbeaten 1976 Indiana Hoosiers … but all they ask you to do in March is survive and advance, and the Jays survived Ohio in the West Region at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse and advanced on Monday night.

Dance, Jays, dance. You’ve made your fans and your school proud.

And look, we have witnessed so much Madness so far that who is to say these irrepressible Jays can’t dribble all the way to One Shining Moment on the first Monday night in April?

And hey, five double-digit seeds have gotten to the Final Four — four 11s and one 10. Villanova was an 8 seed when it shocked Georgetown in the 1985 championship game.

One problem, Creighton:

A monster will be waiting for you.

A 28-0 Gonzaga monster that is driven to complete the first undefeated season since Knight’s Hoosiers.

Sorry, Creighton.

In other words, enjoy this while you can.

Look at it this way: All the pressure will be on the Zags. All of Indiana will be rooting against Gonzaga, and rally to your side, especially if you can stand up to the bully.

History tells us that David CAN beat Goliath, right?

Let’s see if you can play the perfect game against the perfect team.

Because, no disrespect intended, that’s what it will take.

Marcus Zegarowski (20 points) won the point guard duel with Jason Preston (4 points).

Preston was nowhere near his playmaking self. It is called cutting off the head of the snake.

Zegarowski played like a carefree assassin.

The Jays played with more swag, composure, poise and togetherness.

The Bobcats, led by Mark Sears, staged a late comeback that cut the Bluejay lead to 65-56 but Zegarowski answered with a dagger floater.

Zegarowski’s fourth 3 in four tries had extended Creighton’s lead to 52-31 with 14:41 remaining.

The Jays endured a cold spell and the Bobcats clawed back to within 56-43 with 8:09 left. An emphatic alley-oop flush by Christian Bishop undoubtedly frustrated Athens, Ohio native spectator Joe Burrow.

The Bobcats, who averaged 80 ppg, were completely out of sync and trailed 39-24 at the half. They were 3-for-13 from downtown Athens, missed 10 of its last 11 shots and scored four points over the last 7:39 of the half.

The Bluejays (50 percent shooting) uncharacteristically attacked the basket with little resistance and capitalized on Ohio turnovers.

A one-handed alley-oop jam by Bishop and back-to-back layups by Damien Jefferson at the end of a 13-3 Creighton run gave the Jays a 29-22 lead with 4:01 left in the half. A pair of Zegarowski 3s gave the Jays a 37-24 lead.

Preston, too passive and not looking for his shot, responded with an airball, and finished with one point over the first 20 minutes. And the Bobcats were 1-for-7 from the free-throw line.

Let the Jays celebrate. While they can.

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