OMAHA–(CU Athletics Feb. 2)–Playing in front of a sellout crowd of 17,874, No. 13 Creighton dropped a back-and-forth offensive battle to Butler 99-98 on February 2.
Following Friday’s result the Bluejays moved to 16-6 on the season and 7-4 in BIG EAST contests, while Butler climbed to 15-7 overall and 6-5 in conference play after its fourth straight victory.
The Bluejays came out blistering in the first half, shooting 61.3% from the field (19-of-31). In spite of Creighton’s offensive attack, the Bulldogs kept in stride with eight treys in the opening frame. Holding a 40-37 edge with 3:37 left in the first stanza the Bluejays created the first substantial separation of the game with a 7-0 surge, capped by a three-pointer from Trey Alexander to take a 47-37 advantage (2:17). Leading 49-39 with under a minute left Butler clawed back in contention with a pair of three-pointers in the final 40 seconds to trim its halftime deficit to four, including a buzzer-beating trey from 40 feet by Finley Bizjack.
The shooting fortunes turned in the second half as Butler connected on 62.5 percent of its shots (20-of-32), while Creighton converted 15-of-31 (48.4%). The result was a battle that saw neither team lead by more than five in the second half as the squads seemed to match one another shot for shot. Butler would score on 25-of-35 second half possessions, becoming just the second CU conference opponent to score more than 95 points in regulation in Omaha since 1989.
Down the stretch the Bluejays climbed within one point four different times in the final 2:11, but were unable to get over the hump. The Bulldogs committed two turnovers in the final 35 seconds and missed a free throw, but CU missed its final four shots from the floor, all of which would have tied the game.
Steven Ashworth and Baylor Scheierman led Creighton with 26 points, while Alexander finished with 22 points and Ryan Kalkbrenner delivered 20 points. Scheierman had a game-leading 11 rebounds and joined Alexander in playing all 40 minutes. Creighton shot 54.8 percent from the field, including 9-of-25 from downtown, and drained 21-of-24 free throws. The Jays owned a 35-26 rebound advantage and outscored BU 8-3 in second-chance points.
Butler got 26 points from Jahmyl Telfort, while DJ Davis delivered 22 points. Rounding out the Bulldogs in double figures was Pierre Brooks with 14 points and 11 points from Finley Bizjack. The Bulldogs made 13-of-22 three-pointers, shot 55.1 percent overall, and had just five turnovers.
The Bluejays return to action on Wednesday, February 7 in a road contest at Providence. Airing on FS2, the game is scheduled to tip at 7:30 p.m. Central.