mbb recap

Krampelj and the team get ready for an early season matchup in a packed CHI Health Center Omaha.

With last week’s NIT loss to

TCU, men’s basketball concluded

a season that failed to meet the

expectations of some and exceeded

that of others.

The Bluejays finished the season

at 20-15 and third in the Big East

with a conference record of 9-9. A

five-game win streak to close the

season put them within striking

distance of March Madness, but

a first round Big East Tournament

loss to Xavier sent them instead to

the National Invitation Tournament.

The Bluejays advanced to

the quarterfinals with convincing

home wins over Loyola Chicago

and Memphis before falling to

TCU in Fort Worth.

While projected to finish ninth

in the Big East, the Jays finished

third, notching impressive wins at

Georgetown, then No. 16 ranked

Clemson and tenth ranked Marquette.

Several players also earned

conference honors. Sophomore

guard Ty-Shon Alexander and junior

forward Martin Krampelj

were awarded Honorable Mention

All-Big East, and freshman guard

Marcus Zegarowski was named to

the Big East All-Freshman Team.

A young Creighton team saw

many underclassmen step into

productive roles. In his first year

at Creighton, Zegarowski was a

steady contributor and who was

given the chance to start after the

midseason injury of sophomore

guard and forward Damien Jefferson,

and held on to that spot the

rest of the year. The Massachusetts

native averaged 10.4 points per

game, including shooting 45.3 percent

from behind the arc.

Alexander led the team in points

and steals per game with 16.2 and

1.2 respectively, marking significant

improvement from his 5.5

points per game average last season.

This year, Alexander notched

eight 20-plus point games and an

impressive 36-point performance

to win the Cayman Islands Classic

against Clemson. At the end of the

regular season, he was also named

an All-District VI selection by the

U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

Ballock also found success in his

second year for the Bluejays, playing

all 35 games. He averaged 11.1

points and 4.4 rebounds per game,

including a 39-point performance

against DePaul, where he stied the

Big East record and set a school

record with 11 3-pointers. He also

set an NCAA single game record

for 3-point percentage with at least

12 attempts, shooting 11-2 from

three.

After the game, Krampelj

praised Ballock’s work ethic and

performance. “Mitch deserves every

one of them man, he’s the guy

shooting that ball in the gym all

day long. I come to practice still

dressed up he’s already shooting.

I’m going through treatments, he’s

still shooting. What he did tonight,

it definitely gives us a lift.”

One of the biggest stories coming

into the 2018-19 season was

Krampelj’s return to the court.

Midway through his sophomore

season, Krampelj tore his anterior

cruciate ligament in his left knee,

sidelining him for the rest of the

year.

After an offseason spent in recovery,

Krampelj returned for an

impactful junior season, averaging

13.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per

game. Krampelj was also a defensive

force for the Bluejays, tallying

a career high of 29 blocks and

38 steals and leading the team in

blocks and rebounds.

After the team’s upset victory

against tenth ranked Marquette,

McDermott praised Krampelj for

his skills on defense. “I think Martin

is one of the best in the country

on ball screens to be able to get out

there and move his feet and have

active hands and also not foul.”

Krampelj is not certain to return

for his senior season, leaving the

possible need for another Bluejay to

step it up in the paint next season.

Freshman forward Christian Bishop

saw success relieving Krampelj

off the bench, including a 10-point

performance against TCU.

The team loses seniors Kaleb

Joseph and Connor Cashaw, both

guards. Redshirting for a season

after two years at Syracuse, Joseph

averaged 4.3 points and 13.3

minutes per game in his final two

seasons of eligibility at Creighton.

Cashaw played one year with the

Bluejays as a graduate transfer from

Rice University, where he averaged

2.1 points and 11.2 minutes per

game.

McDermott praised Cashaw and

Joseph’s roles as seniors on a young

squad. “I’m so proud for what they

stand for, I’m proud that they stuck

with this young group and helped

mentor this young group during

some tough times this season.”

With plenty of young talent,

Creighton returns next season with

most of their core team intact. According

to Creighton Athletics,

97.7 percent of the team’s starts

and 88 percent of their points will

return next season.

After their season-ending loss to

TCU, McDermott expressed hope

for the future of this young team.

“I like the core group that we

have coming back, I think they

showed some signs of what we

can become in the future and, you

know, hopefully we can add a couple

pieces and really build on some

of the good things that happened

late this season.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.