Remy Martin had not led Kansas in scoring during the season leading up to the NCAA Tournament.
Arizona State’s fifth-year senior transfer is 2 for 2.
Martin had 20 points. Ochai Agbaji made it clear that Kansas was ahead early in the second period with his first basket. Kansas defeated Creighton 79 to 72 on Saturday to reach the Sweet 16.
Martin was injured in his knee and had to be re-inducted into the lineup. Martin missed nearly a month of Big 12 play. Martin’s first two double-figure wins since December were in the Big 12 Tournament. This helped the Jayhawks (30-6), win the title.
He’s now leading them to their 32nd Sweet 16 where they will play either Providence or Richmond.
Martin stated, “With the guys, my family, and the group, they are a very tight-knit bunch.” They keep me confident. They keep me mentally energized. It was always my feeling that I had something inside me. But there is nothing. It’s all about simplicity.
The Bluejays, who were shorthanded (23-12), remained close with a hot showing from the 3-point line. Creighton, the ninth-seeded team, was 12 of 28 from beyond the arc. It was one of the worst teams in America. Arthur Kaluma scored 24 points and was 4/10.
Trey Alexander, a freshman, was the winner of the biggest 3, as he swung an off-balance heave well behind the line just before the shot clock expired. This resulted in a 73-70% deficit with only 2:25 remaining. Creighton was within one after Keyshawn Feazell’s bucket.
In the final minute, the Bluejays had a chance of going ahead but Alexander’s error in passing went unpunished by Alex O’Connell. Agbaji grabbed the ball and went for a breakaway, his last point of the second half.
Agbaji ended the game with 15 points. Christian Braun added 13 points with a big 3, and Jalen Wilson had fourteen points and 14 rebounds.
Creighton reached the Sweet 16 last season with six players, after Ryan Kalkbrenner, a 7-footer, was injured in his knee late in overtime.
Ryan Nembhard was the Big East freshman player of the year. He died from wrist surgery in late season. This forced the Bluejays’ to rely more on Alexander.
Ryan Hawkins, senior, said, “Just to be resilient and come back every time you get knocked out, it’s just silly little game but it teaches you lots about life in that regard.” I think this group has a lot of fire. We finished the season with a great finish.
Hawkins made a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter for Creighton. He was able to drain it from far behind the arc in 13 seconds. Creighton finished 3 out 6 from the distance with 14 points. O’Connell was third of eight and scored 16. Alexander was awarded 14 points.
Martin, the 6-foot guard, scored 15 points against Texas Southern in round one. He had 16 by the time Martin was off the bench. He was able to shoot from the Bluejays, going 2 of 4 at 3 and 6 out of 9 overall before the break.
Coach Bill Self stated, “You have to get guys to take some marginal shots and make them.” Remy took some good shots. But you wouldn’t expect a man to make those kind of shots. That kept us in the game. With him, we’re a completely different team.”
Creighton: The Bluejays didn’t leave the court in the second period despite having three players for 40 minutes and one for 38. They couldn’t get any closer to six points before the surge that allowed them to win the upset.
Coach Greg McDermott stated, “It was a good match in that respect.” “The only difference was (Self), had nine to ten guys down there to choose, while we had seven.”
Kansas: Agbaji scored the go-ahead basket in the second period after the Big 12 player the year had missed all four of his shots in the first. When he took an offensive rebound and hit a putback, he was only 1 of 7. He missed his only 3-pointer later.
FIT TO BE TIETED
Kansas is tied with Kentucky for all-time wins, 30-win seasons, and overall wins. Each program has at least 2353 wins, 16 seasons with at least 30 victories and 2,353 total losses. These milestones were achieved two days after Kentucky lost to Saint Peter’s 85-79 overtime in the East Region’s second seed.
Kaluma and O’Connell met twice on alley-oop, with O’Connell giving Kaluma food both times. The first occurred in the second half. O’Connell smiled at when he saw him glance toward his teammate as they made their way to the opposite end of the court.