Creighton comes back from 18 down to upset No. 18 Oklahoma
Maybe Creighton isn't going to be so bad without Doug McDermott after all.
The Bluejays came back from an 18-point deficit in the second half to upset 18th-ranked Oklahoma 65-63 on Wednesday night. The victory set off a court-storming by the student section and kept the good times rolling for the sellout crowd of 17,393 that continues to come to CenturyLink Center in droves even after the departure of the program's biggest star.
"It gives us a lot of confidence," said point guard Austin Chatman, the Bluejays' only returning starter. "Coming into the season we had a lot of questions -- how good would we be and things like that. I think this answered a lot of questions of the doubters."
The Sooners, who returned their top three scorers from a 23-win team, for a half looked like they would overpower a Creighton team that lost McDermott, the 2014 national player of the year, and three other seniors.
Oklahoma led 35-24 at halftime after Creighton came out shooting 24 percent (6 of 25). The Bluejays' turnaround was sudden. Isiah Zierden and Chatman hit 3-pointers to ignite the 24-4 run that swung the game.
"Congratulations to Creighton," Sooners coach Lon Kruger said. "They have a good ballclub, great atmosphere. We didn't do the things down the stretch with the strength and composure you have to have to win in a tough place. We'll learn from that and get better."
Zach Hanson scored the go-ahead points, catching Devin Brooks' air ball along the baseline and putting it in the basket with 49 seconds left.
Brooks contended his shot was actually a pass. Everyone else in the building thought Brooks missed everything with his short shot from the right side.
"That's what I thought, too," Hanson said. "But he said it was a pass, and it all worked out."
Chatman, who had 17 points, hit a couple of free throws to make it a four-point game with 24 seconds left. But Oklahoma still had a chance after Brooks missed three free throws in the last 14 seconds. Jordan Woodard missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Toby Hegner and Isaiah Zierden added 11 points apiece for Creighton (3-0).
Buddy Hield led the Sooners (1-1) with 21 points. TaShawn Thomas added 14 and Ryan Spangler had 11.
"This loss should bring us together more," Hield said. "We can't get comfortable with leads. Let's build off that and keep learning."
For Creighton, which is picked to finish ninth in the 10-team Big East, the 18-point deficit was the biggest overcome in a win in coach Greg McDermott's five seasons at Creighton.
Oklahoma: Hield, who set a school record and tied the Big 12 mark for most 3-pointers in a game without a miss by going 7 for 7 against Southeastern Louisiana, made his first 3 against Creighton before missing for the first time this season.
Creighton: Toby Hegner drew a roar from the crowd late in the first half when he bumped a courtside table diving for a loose ball and ended up with beer spilled on his head. "He's from Wisconsin. He was right at home," Greg McDermott said. The comeback was one point short of Creighton's biggest at CenturyLink Center. The Bluejays rallied from 19 points down to beat Wichita State in January 2006.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"It goes without saying that our crowd wouldn't let us quit. They wouldn't let us die." - Greg McDermott, referring to the sellout crowd of 17,393.
Oklahoma hosts Northwestern State on Sunday.
Creighton hosts North Carolina Central in Emerald Coast Classic on Sunday.