OMAHA, Neb. — In Creighton’s 250th game at CenturyLink Center Omaha, Marcus Foster’s 21 first half points led the No. 25 Bluejays to an 85-74 win over Butler on Tuesday, Jan. 9th.
Creighton won for the ninth time in 10 games, improving to 14-3 (4-1 BIG EAST) on the season, and good for sole possession of first place. Butler fell to 12-5 overall and is 2-3 in conference action, losing for the third straight time since defeating No. 1 Villanova on Dec. 30th.
Both teams came out shooting the ball well, as a three-pointer from Foster on the opening possession gave Creighton a three-pointer for the 800th straight game, and the Bluejays would never trail. Neither side were able to create much breathing room with Creighton holding a 19-18 edge going into the second media timeout, before the Bluejays kicked into gear. An 8-0 run extended Creighton’s lead and from there it was all Bluejays.
CenturyLink Center Omaha would soon become host of a highlight reel, as the last seven minutes of the first half were stamped by a Khyri Thomas dunk to make it 36-24 with 6:39 left. Moments later a Ronnie Harrell Jr. lob led to a Foster slam that would send the crowd into a frenzy, creating the largest lead of the game for Creighton at 17 points to that point (41-24 with 5:19 remaining). The Jays outscored Butler 30-14 in the final 11:05 of the half to take a 49-32 lead going into the break.
Foster led the way, shooting 9-14 in the first half and had 21 points. No other player on the court for either team managed more than nine before the break. Creighton dished out 14 assists on 19 baskets in the opening 20 minutes, while the Bulldogs only managed to dish just four. Creighton’s defense created six turnovers, while only giving up one on the offensive end of the floor.
In the second half the two squads traded baskets in the opening eight minutes. The Bulldogs clawed their way back throughout the second half, climbing within six points at 76-70 with 2:22 left. Coming out of a timeout the Bluejays closed the window as Foster fed Krampelj for an emphatic slam to push the lead back out to double digits and seal the victory for the hosts.
Foster finished the contest with a team-high 23 points and season-high eight assists. Thomas (14), Krampelj (14 points, 14 rebounds), and Toby Hegner (12) also reached double-digits, while Paul Jorgensen led the way for the Bulldogs with 18 points. Butler’s Kelan Martin closed the night with a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double, and Kamar Baldwin added 15 points and eight rebounds.
The Bluejays shared the ball well, beating the Bulldogs in assists 23-11. The rebound battle was won by Butler, 37-32. Creighton finished the night shooting 54.1 percent, and 33.3 percent from the arc. Butler would shoot 47.1 percent from the field, and only 28.6 percent from the arc.
The Bluejays return to action on Saturday, Jan. 13 as Creighton travels to Cincinnati, Ohio to battle No. 10 Xavier at 1:00 p.m. CST.