EditorsNote: Minor tweaks
Denzel Mahoney came off the bench to score a game-high 21 points Saturday as Creighton led nearly wire-to-wire in a 76-61 Big East Conference upset of No. 8 Villanova at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Ty-Shon Alexander chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Mitch Ballock added 15, all on 3-pointers. Marcus Zegarowski kicked in 13 points as the Bluejays (17-5, 6-3 Big East) avenged a loss last month to the Wildcats, beating them for just the second time in the last 13 meetings.
Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore each scored 18 points for Villanova (17-4, 7-2), which missed a chance to tie No. 10 Seton Hall for first place in the conference. The Pirates lost 74-62 on Saturday to Xavier.
Leading 54-50 after the Wildcats’ Saddiq Bey canned a foul-line jumper with 9:29 left in the game, Creighton went on a game-sealing 9-0 run. Mahoney started the spurt with a layup and ended it with a transition layup for a 63-50 advantage with 6:05 remaining.
The Bluejays converted 50.9 percent of their shots from the field, going an impressive 11 of 22 on 3-pointers. Villanova sank just 36.1 percent from the floor and bricked its way to a 7-of-26 showing from the 3-point arc.
Beginning with a 3-pointer by Alexander at the 16:28 mark of the first half, Creighton went on a 15-3 run that shaped the game’s remainder. The Bluejays connected on three 3-pointers in that span, including two from Ballock that gave them an 18-8 lead with 9:07 left.
Creighton continued its push, expanding the margin to 31-14 when Zegarowski converted a Villanova turnover into a transition bucket with 3:11 remaining. The Wildcats managed to slice the deficit to 35-23 at halftime, courtesy of a Cole Swider layup in the final minute.
The Bluejays sank 48.3 percent of their shots in the half, going 6 of 13 from the 3-point line. Meanwhile, Villanova couldn’t find the range, hitting only 10 of 28 from the floor and 3 of 14 on 3-point tries.
—Field Level Media