Sophomore forward Christian Bishop’s career-high 17 points paced host Creighton’s workmanlike 72-60 nonconference victory over Oral Roberts on Tuesday night in Omaha, Neb.
Sophomore point guard Marcus Zegarowski added 14 points and six assists for the Bluejays (6-2), who shot just 40 percent from the field. Junior guards Ty-Shon Alexander (14 points) and Mitch Ballock (12 points) hit four 3-pointers apiece as Creighton built on its overtime win over then-No. 12 Texas Tech on Nov. 29.
Senior power forward Emmanuel Nzekwesi paced Oral Roberts (3-5) with 21 points and 10 rebounds for his 23rd career double-double. Senior point guard Deondre Burns added 10 points as the Golden Eagles lost their fifth straight road game to a bigger-name opponent — a list that also includes Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Iowa and Wichita State.
Oral Roberts tried to slow the pace early and trailed just 11-10 five minutes into the game when all-Summit League performer Nzekwesi, who missed the last three games with a sprained knee, came off the bench.
But over the next 10 minutes, Nzekwesi’s seven points were all the Golden Eagles managed as Creighton blew open the game.
Alexander buried three 3-pointers in 67 seconds to turn that 11-10 edge into a 20-13 lead at the 13:22 mark. Ballock added three 3-pointers in the first half as well.
Once the Bluejays’ perimeter shooting stretched Oral Roberts’ defense, they started feeding graduate transfer center Kelvin Jones in the post. He converted a pair of post moves as Creighton’s lead swelled to 30-15 with 8:11 left in the half.
Oral Roberts got as close as 11 late in the first half as Nzekwesi kept overpowering people inside, but Creighton kept finding answers even when it couldn’t convert from point-blank range.
In the final minute of the half, junior forward Damien Jefferson missed an alley-oop slam and Bishop couldn’t get his follow-up dunk to fall — yet Bishop corralled the next rebound for a putback. When he added another putback on the Bluejays’ final possession of the half, Creighton owned a 46-31 lead at the break.
After playing at a hectic rate in the first half, neither team could find its legs or its shooting eyes in the second half.
Both teams struggled to shoot 30 percent from the field in the first 10 minutes of the second half, which enabled Creighton to maintain its comfortable lead.
When Alexander swished a 3-pointer from the corner with 10:22 left — his first bomb since his early flurry — the Bluejays owned a 61-41 lead.
—Field Level Media