Senior Day at Creighton likely didn’t go the way the team envisioned it might at the beginning of the season.
The Bluejays suffered their worst loss of the season in their final regular-season home game, falling to No. 21 DePaul 78-52 in front of 1,255 fans at Sokol Arena.
The final score was much closer than the game appeared.
The Jays (13-15, 7-9 Big East) trailed by as many as 39 points in the fourth quarter before cutting the deficit late with both teams playing the ends of their benches.
Creighton coach Jim Flanery said his team lacked hustle, and he said he couldn’t explain why.
“Obviously that wasn’t very much fun,” Flanery said. “I thought the physical effort wasn’t what it needs to be from our standpoint, and I don’t know what that was.”
The wheels started to come off early for the Jays. After giving up the first five points of the game, Creighton responded with a 6-0 run to go up 6-5. But DePaul finished the quarter by outscoring CU 18-8. And it got worse from there.
The Jays made just 4 of 14 shots in the second quarter as the DePaul halftime lead grew to 43-29. Then Creighton hit just 2 of 14 in the third quarter while getting outscored 24-4, and the rout was on.
“The third quarter was really bad,” Flanery said. “I felt like we — in that third quarter we got outhustled quite a bit. But at the end of the day, a loss is a loss. We’ve got to get better.”
The Bluejays were outrebounded 27-15 in the second and third quarters combined. DePaul (23-7, 15-2) clinched the regular-season conference title with a win at Providence on Friday.
The Blue Demons had three players score in double figures, led by Jessica January’s 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting. MC McGrory scored 11 points to lead the Jays.
“We could have played well today and lost, but we didn’t play very well,” Flanery said.
The Bluejays outscored DePaul 19-11 in the final quarter, avoiding the worst defeat in Sokol Arena history — a 28-point loss to Notre Dame in 2011.
Creighton honored senior Tessa Leytem, a former walk-on, after the game as part of Senior Day. Leytem scored eight points on 3-of-7 shooting, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range, in her first career start.
Creighton finishes the regular season next weekend on the road at Seton Hall Friday and St. John’s Sunday.