Welcome to Play-by-Play Theater, the
semi-regular very irregular feature where I mine play-by-play data from the past four-plus seasons to discover the wacky things that happen in darkest corners of the college basketball schedule.
On Monday night, Creighton made its first nine three-point attempts against Villanova. Naturally, the reaction across social media and in more civilized places of human interaction was that this was unusual. Just about everyone, including Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery remarked that they had not seen anything like it before.
Of course, just because you haven’t seen it before doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened before. There are too many games going on each night for any of us to see everything. That’s where our friends at Play-by-Play Theater can be of some help. Those friends are actually inside my computer, scouring the play-by-plays from 24,552 Division-I games gathered since the 2009-2010 season.
The first thing I wanted to know was the longest streak of consecutive made three-pointers from the beginning of the game. In fact, Creighton’s remarkable streak has been matched or exceeded a few times in this regard.
Consecutive made 3-pointers from start of game
12 Indiana State vs. Southern Illinois, 2/11/12
11 Cal Poly vs. Cal State Northridge, 1/21/12
9 Pacific vs. UC Riverside, 1/29/11
9 Middle Tennessee vs. UCLA, 11/15/11
9 Southeast Missouri State vs Sacramento State, 12/22/11
9 Creighton vs. Villanova, 1/20/14
That Indiana State performance was special in that the Sycamores simply ran out of time to add to their record. They finished 12-for-12 for the game, establishing an NCAA record for 3P% that should stand for a while. (Ohio State owns the record for consecutive 3’s at any time with 14 against Wisconsin on 3/6/11.) Indiana State finished eighth in the MVC in conference-only 3P% that season, making the feat that much more incredible.
The thing about Creighton’s streak was that their nine bombs were also their first nine made baskets of the game.
19:37 0-3 V 3 GOOD! 3 PTR by WRAGGE, Ethan [FB] 18:57 0-6 V 6 GOOD! 3 PTR by WRAGGE, Ethan 18:20 2-9 V 7 GOOD! 3 PTR by MANIGAT, Jahenns 17:45 5-12 V 7 GOOD! 3 PTR by MCDERMOTT, Doug 17:03 5-15 V 10 GOOD! 3 PTR by WRAGGE, Ethan 16:13 5-18 V 13 GOOD! 3 PTR by WRAGGE, Ethan 15:49 5-21 V 16 GOOD! 3 PTR by WRAGGE, Ethan [FB] 14:39 5-24 V 19 GOOD! 3 PTR by WRAGGE, Ethan 13:55 8-27 V 19 GOOD! 3 PTR by WRAGGE, Ethan
That’s a lot of exclamation points! Surely that has to be special, right?
Indeed, in the past five seasons no team has made it to 27 making nine consecutive 3’s.
Consecutive made 3-pointers without any other scores, from start of game
9 Creighton vs. Villanova, 1/20/14
8 Miami OH vs. Western Michigan, 1/28/12
7 Campbell vs. North Carolina Central, 11/18/13
6 Michigan vs. Minnesota, 2/26/11
6 Davidson vs. Wofford 12/8/12
After missing its tenth three-point attempt, Creighton actually got to 30 on 3’s alone and that was accomplished once before.
Made 3-pointers without any other scores, from start of game
11 Miami OH vs. Western Michigan, 1/28/12
10 Creighton vs. Villanova, 1/20/14
8 West Virginia vs. Kentucky, 3/27/10
7 accomplished six times
It was not until a Julian Mavunga free throw with 1:19 left in the first half that the RedHawks got their first points from something other than a three-pointer. Creighton’s assault on the nets at the Wells Fargo Center was much quicker and more effective.