There were a lot of storylines in Creighton's 70-56 win over No. 5 Xavier on Tuesday night. It was the Jays fourth all-time win over a top-five team, and the first since 2014. It was a career night for Maurice Watson. And CU did it while shooting 40.7 percent from the field, including a 7-for-30 — 23.3 percent — from long range.
So how did the Jays — who have been shooting 47.1 percent from the floor and 35.8 percent from beyond the arc this season — upset the fifth-ranked team in the nation on a sub-par shooting night?
By making the other team shoot worse.
Xavier posted the worst 3-point shooting night of the 2015-16 season in Omaha on Tuesday night. In fact, according to Sports Reference, the Musketeers' 1-for-21 shooting effort — that's 4.8 percent — was the worst game from beyond the arc in which at least one shot was made since 2014, when Sam Houston State went 1 for 24 from outside. Worth noting, the five-worst 3-point shooting performances of the season all came in the past two weeks: Penn State (1 for 20, Feb. 3 at Iowa), Bucknell (0 for 15, Feb. 3 at American), Eastern Washington (1 for 20, Jan. 30 at Sacramento State) and Richmond (0 for 15, Jan. 25 at Davidson).
Since 2010, only 15 teams have both made a 3-point basket and finished with a shooting mark lower than five percent from long range. The low mark in that span was Northern Illinois' 1-for-33 night (three percent) against Eastern Michigan in 2013. Another 44 teams took 15-plus shots without hitting a basket in that five-year stretch. The biggest O-fer in that time was Northwestern State's 0-for-26 mark in 2012.
On Tuesday, Creighton did what it could to make it tough for Xavier to find open looks.
“They did a good job on defense contesting shots,” Musketeers forward James Farr said.
Greg McDermott was happy with the way his team played in the win, but was hesitant to give his team all of the credit for the Musketeers shooting woes.
Said McDermott: “Let’s be honest, they missed some 3s they normally make.”