Former North Meck High star Davion Mintz was playing about six minutes per game off the bench and easing himself into the college game, but suddenly, the true freshman was thrust into a much more significant role.
Mintz responded with the best statistical game of his career against Marquette in the next outing, scoring 17 points and dishing out eight assists in 26 minutes off the bench.
Since Watson’s injury, the Bluejays have relied on a few players at the point guard spot. Mintz has started 11 of the 13 contests while playing 16.8 minutes per game.
Mintz stepped up in last week’s quarterfinal win over Providence in the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, though things didn’t begin well. He picked up two fouls in the first 2:30 of the game and had to sit for much of the first 20 minutes.
“I thought Davion, after maybe having some freshman jitters playing in this tournament the first time in the first half, I thought he really settled in and was great on both ends of the floor the second half,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott told the media afterward.
Mintz finished with eight points, three steals and two assists. He praised his teammates for keeping his spirits up at halftime.
“When I came into the locker room, they uplifted me and calmed me down,” he said. “I came out a little anxious, just ready and excited. But once I calmed down and got my groove, that’s when I could hype myself up, and it started with them. I thank them and the coaching staff for sticking with me.”
For the year, Mintz is averaging 3.3 points and 1.8 assists per game.
Creighton (25-9) is making its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in six years. The Bluejays are the No. 6 seed in the Midwest Region and will face No. 11 Rhode Island Friday at 4:30 p.m. in Sacramento. The game will be televised by TBS.