Be sure to check out our book “Road to the Big Time” for much more Creighton history. It is full of wonderful photos (including one of their football team!) and is an informative and interesting read by our own Steven Pivovar.
Creighton’s first trip to the NCAA tournament came in 1941. The Jays lost to Washington State in a regional semifinal, but defeated Wyoming in the third-place game.
Creighton’s Dick Nolan (45) shoots against Ohio State, as Ed Beisser moves into position for a rebound in a 60-34 Bluejay win in December 1941. As the Bluejays began to pull away in the second half, the Creighton crowd chanted, “Double the score! Double the score!” The Jays heeded the call, extending their lead to 42-21 with seven minutes left before coach Hickey cleared the bench. JOHN SAVAGE/THE WORLD-HERALD
It was some time before the Jays saw another tournament. In 1962 Creighton defeated Memphis in the second round, lost to Cincinnati in the regional semi-finals and defeated Texas Tech in the third-place game.
Paul Silas grabs one of his 26 rebounds in a Dec. 10, 1961, victory over Notre Dame in his second game for Creighton. In the season opener he had 29 rebounds, three more than the entire Colorado College team. THE WORLD-HERALD
In 1964 the Jays defeated Oklahoma City in the second round, lost to Wichita State in the regional semi-final and lost to UTEP in the third-place game.
Fans greet Coach John “Red” McManus as the Jays return after their NCAA tourney win over Oklahoma City in Dallas on March 11, 1964. The sign reflects the times: the Beatles had appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” a month earlier. THE WORLD-HERALD
It was another 10 years before Creighton made it to the dance again. In 1974 the team defeated Texas in the second round, lost to Kansas in the regional semi-final and defeated Louisville in the third-place game.
Bluejay seniors pose with coach Eddie Sutton on Oct. 12, 1973. Top Row, from left: Gene Harmon, Ted Wuebben, Ralph Bobik. Bottom row, from left: Jim “Bimbo” Pietro, Richie Smith and Sutton. PHIL JOHNSON/THE WORLD-HERALD
In 1975, the Jays were back. They lost to Maryland in the second round.
Freshman Rick Apke (44) joined the team and averaged 6.4 points as a reserve. He is shown here with St. Louis players Gary Simpson left, McKinney and Steve Walsh on Dec. 15, 1974. TOM PLAMBECK/THE WORLD-HERALD
Creighton lost to DePaul in the second round at the 1978 tournament.
Creighton’s John C. Johnson reaches inside UNO’s Steve Criss to score late in the first half on September 13, 1977. RUDY SMITH/THE WORLD-HERALD
The Jays went back in 1981, only to lose to St. Joseph in the first round. But the MVC tournament championship game leading up to the NCAA game was pretty incredible…
The crowd erupted after Rick Apke’s shot dropped through the net during the March 6, 1981 game against Tulsa. “The noise near the end of the game was of another world,” The World-Herald’s Michael Kelly wrote. “It was off the decibel scale. The roar was along that fine line between heavenly and demonic.” RUDY SMITH/THE WORLD-HERALD
It was 1989 before Creighton returned to another NCAA tournament. The Jays lost to Missouri in the first round.
Coach Tony Barone and senior James Farr during the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in March 1989. RUDY SMITH/THE WORLD-HERALD
Creighton fared better in the 1991 tournament. The team beat New Mexico State in the first round, but was defeated by Seton Hall in the second round.
Omaha youngsters Chris McLaughlin, Bubba Klement and Kevin McLaughlin react to the announcement that Creighton would play New Mexico State in the NCAA tournament. About 700 watched the televised coverage of the announcement at the old Creighton gym in March 1991. BILL BATSON/THE WORLD-HERALD
Once a again there was a gap of several years before the Jays saw the NCAA tournament again. They defeated Louisville in the 1991 first round, but lost to Maryland in the second.
Members of the Creighton basketball team, including Donnie Johnson, left, Justin Haynes (40) and Alan Huss (34) celebrate during the closing moments of their upset win over Louisville during the NCAA South Regional tournament Thursday, March 11, 1999, at the Orlando Arena in Orlando, Fla. ASSOCIATED PRESS
Creighton suffered a first-round loss to Auburn in 2000.
Ryan Sears (5), right, tries to stop Auburn’s Reggie Sharp’s (11) throw down court in the last second of their game after Creighton missed a last-second shot in their NCAA Midwest Regional on March 16, 2000 in Minneapolis. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
And lost to Iowa in the first round in 2001.
Seniors Ben Walker (4), left, and Ryan Sears (5) leave the court after losing to Iowa at the NCAA tournament in Long Island, NY, on March 15, 2001. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The Jays made it farther in 2002. They defeated Florida in the first round, but lost to Illinois in the second.
Creighton University’s Terrell Taylor (23) returns to the bench after scoring the winning basket against Florida in double overtime in a first-round NCAA regional game March 15, 2002, in Chicago. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The team lost to Central Michigan in the first round of the 2003 tournament.
Kyle Korver (25) dives for the ball over CMU’s T.J. Merrman (15) in the 1st half of the game vs. Central Michigan in the NCAA tournament on March 21, 2003 in Salt Lake City. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
And lost, again in the first round, in 2005. West Virginia beat CU by only 2 two points.
Creighton’s Tyler McKinney is hoisted up by the crowd at midcourt after CU won the Missouri Valley Conference championship on March 7, 2005, in St. Louis, Mo. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The team lost to Nevada in the first round in 2007.
The Creighton Bluejays huddle before tip off against Nevada in the first round of the NCAA South Regional at the New Orleans Arena on Friday, March 16, 2007. REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE OMAHA WORLD-HERALD
But CU made it a little farther in the 2012 tournament. The Jays beat Alabama in the second round and lost to North Carolina in the third.
Josh Jones (5) gets off a three-point shot over UNC’s Harrison Barnes. The Creighton Bluejays played the University of North Carolina in a third-round basketball game at the Greensboro Coliseum in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship in Greensboro, N.C., on March 18, 2012. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
In 2013 Creighton defeated Cincinnati in the second round but lost to Duke in the third.
Creighton’s Grant Gibbs (10) tries to finish his shot through the defense of Duke’s Mason Plumlee (5) and Amile Jefferson (21). Creighton played Duke in the third-round game of the NCAA basketball tournament in Philadelphia on March 24, 2013. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Let’s see if our guys in blue can take the Big East Tournament by storm this year.