Maurice Watson Jr. has gotten lost in the shuffle this season in conversations about the elite point guards in college basketball.
Something tells me that’s about to change.
Watson scored 32 points, had seven rebounds and dished out five assists at home to lead Creighton to its biggest win of the season on Tuesday, a 70-56 win over No. 5 Xavier. He was the dominant presence in the game, playing a fearless brand of basketball that saw him relentlessly attacking the large Musketeer frontline with success. It was the kind of performance that will deservingly remind voters about his name when it comes time to vote for the All-Big East teams.
The Bluejays got out to a big lead early, stretching it out to a 21-4 lead in the first nine minutes. The Musketeers got back into the matchup by pounding the ball inside and utilizing James Farr and Jalen Reynolds to slow the game down, but in the end it was their shooting that took them out of the game. Xavier shot a pretty remarkable 1-for-21 from behind the 3-point line, and 30 percent from the field overall.
It can’t really be emphasized enough how important this win was for Greg McDermott and Creighton. Not only is it their first win over the No. 5 team in the country since 1970, but it’s also a win that puts them directly on the bubble moving forward. At 16-9, the Bluejays now have three wins over top-40 teams according to KenPom. They’re going to have a lot more work to do due to their 0-3 non-conference mark against top-90 teams and a loss to Loyola (IL), but this win at least puts them in the conversation.
Their road is tough, given that it probably involves sweeping Marquette and taking two out of three against Butler, Providence and Xavier on the road. But given that they were picked to finish ninth in the league in the preseason by the coaches, it’s a pretty nice accomplishment to still be in the picture this late into the season.