OMAHA–(CU Athletics Jan. 13)–Trailing 56-47 midway through the second half, #22 Creighton fed off the energy of its 17,164 fans to nip St. John’s 66-65 on Saturday, January 13.
A fourth straight victory pushed the Bluejays to 13-4 on the season and 4-2 in BIG EAST action, while St. John’s saw its four-game win streak snapped as the Red Storm dropped to 12-5 overall and 4-2 in conference play. Creighton is now 12-1 all-time in Omaha against the Red Storm.
The turning point in the game saw Bluejay Baylor Scheierman whistled for a technical foul after converting a layup. St. John’s made the ensuing two free throws and scored on its possession to take its largest lead at 56-47 with 9:29 left.
Energized by it’s crowd, the Creighton responded with a 12-2 run, punctuated by steal and layup from Francisco Farabello. Ryan Kalkbrenner capped the surge off with a dunk to retake the lead at 59-58 with 5:49 showing on the clock.
Down the stretch the Bluejays took advantage of getting St. John’s in foul trouble throughout the second half. Creighton’s final five points came from the free throw line, including the decisive pair from Trey Alexander with 12.3 seconds left.
The final possession of the contest showed Creighton’s defensive mettle as the Bluejays denied St. John’s on a pair of shots to claim the win.
Early in the contest, the Bluejays came out quickly as Kalkbrenner opened the scoring with a three from the top of the key to help Creighton seize a 10-4 advantage (14:59). St. John’s was able to tighten its defense and respond with a 14-2 run to hold an 18-12 edge with just over 10 minutes left in the first half.
Scheierman ignited seven straight Creighton points with five of his seven first half points as the Bluejays moved back in front 19-18 (8:25). Over the final five minutes the Jays regained their shooting form, hitting five of their final eight shots, to take a 35-30 lead into the locker room.
Kalkbrenner led all scorers with 18 points, adding nine rebounds and four blocked shots. Scheierman delivered his fifth double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Steven Ashworth also finished in double-digits with 11 points. Creighton had just seven turnovers against SJU’s pressure defense.
St. John’s got 13 points and 11 rebounds from Joel Soriano, while Daniss Jenkins contributed 11 points and five assists despite a 5-for-17 shooting afternoon. St. John’s won the rebound war 41-40 and battled despite shooting 2-of-11 from three-point land.
Creighton returns to the court in a road battle with No. 4 Connecticut on Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. Central on FS1.