QUEENS, N.Y. — In a rematch of the last college basketball game of the 2019-20 season, No. 9 Creighton never trailed in a 94-76 win at St. John’s on Thursday night in Queens. Bluejay senior Damien Jefferson approached a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and a career-best eight assists, while junior teammate Christian Bishop had his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The game marked the first time the teams faced each other since the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Tournament, which was halted at halftime due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hours later, the NCAA would cancel the rest of the season.
Creighton got off to a quick start as Bishop scored six early points as the Bluejays rolled to an early 11-2 edge to force a Red Storm timeout. Creighton snared the game’s first 11 rebounds, including six from Bishop. The Bluejays lead reached 20-10 after a Mitch Ballock triple as CU made 4-of-5 three-pointers early after a 4-for-27 performance from long-range last season in a 91-71 loss at Carnesecca Arena.
Creighton stretched its lead to 28-12 after consecutive triples by Ballock and Denzel Mahoney before the Bluejays fell into a 1-for-11 shooting slump during SJU’s 14-2 run to narrow the lead to 30-26. Creighton led 41-34 at the half, finishing the first 20 minutes with a 24-14 edge on the glass and eight points each from Zegarowski and Ballock.
The Red Storm scored the first five points after the halftime break and had a chance for the lead before a turnover preceded back-to-back Zegarowski triples. The Red Storm closed within two points at 52-50 before three straight hoops in the paint led to another St. John’s timeout with 12:23 to play. Ryan Kalkbrenner would have four baskets in a 12-2 run as the Bluejay lead returned to a dozen at 64-52 with 10:38 remaining. The margin expanded to 74-54 as part of a 22-4 blizzard after a corner trey from Mahoney.
Zegarowski led Creighton with 20 points, while Kalkbrenner had a career-high 15. Also in double-figures with 16 was Mahoney, while Jefferson added 10 and Bishop contributed 11.
Julian Champagnie came in leading the BIG EAST in scoring but was held to 17 points on 5-of-13 shooting to lead the Red Storm.
Creighton remains on the road for Sunday’s 11 a.m. Central game at UConn that will be televised live on FS1.