OMAHA, Neb, — Playing in front of a capacity crowd of 17,796 in the annual Creighton vs. Cancer Pink Out Game, the Bluejay men’s basketball team defeated Xavier 77-66 on Sunday, Jan. 26th.
With the win the Bluejays moved to 16-5 overall and 5-3 in BIG EAST play, while Xavier fell to 13-7 on the season and 2-5 in conference contests.
Strong defense in the opening six minutes helped the Bluejays race out to a 13-3 advantage with 14:08 left in the first half. The Bluejays forced Xavier into six consecutive misses at the onset of the contest, while Creighton connected on a trio of three-pointers. Junior Ty-Shon Alexander guided the run with five points, delivering the first bucket of the run as well as the trey to make it 13-3.
The Bluejays pushed their edge to as much at 14 at 33-19 (4:55), before settling for a 39-31 lead heading into halftime. During the opening 20 minutes Creighton got 13 points from Alexander and 10 by junior Denzel Mahoney. The Bluejays delivered seven treys in the half, hitting 7-of-17 (41.2%).
Early in the second half Xavier closed within six points at 41-35 (17:54), the Bluejays responded with seven straight. The run began with a three-pointer from junior Mitch Ballock, then sophomore Christian Bishop converted a fast-break layup. Finally Alexander delivered a pair of free throws to cap the run.
With the Bluejays holding their largest lead of the game at 65-48 (17 points) with 7:33 remaining, the Musketeers mounted their final surge. Over the next three minutes Xavier went on an 11-0 run, getting buckets from four different players to make it a 65-59 game with 4:42 left.
Holding a 67-61 edge moments later the Bluejays put the game away with a pull-up jumper from Mahoney and a dagger trey by Ballock to put Creighton back up by double-digits 75-64 with 1:28 left.
Alexander led all scorers and matched his season-high with 24 points in the game. Three other Bluejays closed the contest in double figures as Zegarowski finished with 15 points and Ballock as well as Mahoney delivered 14 points. Creighton made 11 three-pointers in the game as well as 20 free throws and held a 14-0 edge in fast break points.
Xavier got a career-high 18 points from Zach Freemantle in addition to 15 points from Naji Marshall and 11 points from Tyrique Jones. Jones added 13 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the winter. Xavier shot 40.0 percent for the game and made 6-of-20 three-pointers (30 percent). The Musketeers won the rebound battle 45-28, converting 19 offensive rebounds into 18 second chance points.
The Bluejays return to the court on Saturday, Feb. 1st in a road game at Villanova. The contest is scheduled to tip at 11:00 am (CT)