Creighton improved to 13-4 on the season and is 2-2 in BIG EAST play, while Xavier lost a second straight home game to drop to 12-5 overall and 1-3 in league action.
The win means Creighton has joined Villanova as the only teams to beat Xavier four times at Cintas Center, which opened in 2000. Creighton also won in 2004, 2015 and 2017.
A defensive struggle ensued in the first 15 minutes of the game before an 8-0 spurt by Creighton helped the Bluejays to a 23-15 advantage. The Bluejays would never trail again. A Damien Jefferson floater started the burst, which was followed by three-pointers from Marcus Zegarowski and Ballock. Ballock would score 10 of Creighton’s final 12 points in the first half as the Bluejays took a 32-27 lead into the break.
Ballock led all players with 13 points in the first half, making 5-of-8 shots. Xavier was paced by nine points and five rebounds in the opening period from Paul Scruggs. The Musketeers started 1-of-15 from three-point range before Jason Carter made his final two tries. The Musketeer team started 7-for-27 from the field before making five of their final six attempts before intermission. Creighton made its final seven attempts to shoot 12-for-30 in the opening half.
The Bluejays put the pressure on Xavier early in the second half. Trifectas by Ballock, Ty-Shon Alexander and Marcus Zegarowski preceded a Christian Bishop putback that moved the Bluejay lead into double-figures for the first time at 43-32 with 16:25 left, forcing a timeout from Xavier coach Travis Steele. Naji Marshall provided a spark with a pair of scores inside to bring Xavier within 47-43 with 11:43 to go. The host Muskies had a pair of three-pointers miss with seven minutes remaining that could have tied the score at 51, only to see CU answer with a lay-up by Christian Bishop and a three-pointer from Alexander that made it 56-48 with 5:54 left.
An Alexander step-back jumper beat the shot clock at 4:50, and Bishop followed with consecutive lay-ups, to grow the lead to 62-50. A Ballock bomb from the right wing moved CU’s lead to 65-53, matching the largest lead of the day at that point for CU.
Ballock led five Creighton players in double-figures with 19 points, making 5-of-8 three-pointers, while Alexander added 18. Joining them were Denzel Mahoney (13), Zegarowski (11) and Bishop (10). Creighton made 12-of-14 free throws after halftime to ice the win.
Xavier was led by 21 points form Marshall, who also snared a game-high nine rebounds. Paul Scruggs added 19 points and nine boards. Xavier shot 5-for-26 from three-point range on the afternoon.
Creighton will stay on the road until its next game, a 6 p.m. Central contest at Georgetown on Wednesday, Jan. 15th, that airs on CBS Sports Network.