Marcus Foster scored 21 of his game-high 23 points in the first half as No. 25 Creighton celebrated its return to the polls with a wire-to-wire 85-74 Big East Conference win over Butler at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb. on Tuesday.
Khyri Thomas and Martin Krampelj added 14 apiece for the Bluejays (14-3, 4-1). Krampelj also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds for his third consecutive double-double. Toby Hegner contributed 12 points.
Four starters reached double figures for the Bulldogs (12-6, 2-3), led by 18 points from Paul Jorgensen. Kamar Baldwin added 15 but made just 7-of-19 shots, while Aaron Thompson netted 12 points. Kelan Martin notched a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Foster announced his presence with authority right away, drilling a 3-pointer 24 seconds into the game to mark Creighton’s 800th consecutive game with at least one 3. Butler got the game even just once at 7-7, but the Bluejays responded with a 3-pointer from Hegner and never looked back.
Creighton gradually expanded the lead throughout the half, using an 8-0 spurt to grab a 27-18 lead at the 9:10 mark when Krampelj converted a layup. Foster’s 3-pointer with 7:44 remaining in the half gave the Bluejays their first 10-point lead at 32-22.
Foster hit a transition layup with 4:28 left in the half to finish an 11-2 run and up the advantage to 43-26, and Creighton lugged a 49-32 lead into the locker room when Hegner sank two free throws with 50 seconds left.
Butler did work its way back into contention late, slicing its deficit down to 74-68 with 3:55 remaining in the game on a jumper by Martin. But Foster answered with his only points of the second half on a jumper, and the Bluejays iced it when Krampelj dunked for an 80-70 advantage with 59 seconds left.
Creighton was very efficient offensively, sinking nearly 55 percent of its field goal tries and burying 11-of-13 free throws while committing just one turnover in the first half and seven for the game. The Bluejays drew assists on 23 of 33 buckets.
--Field Level Media