January 11, 2020 / 9:40 PM / 18 days ago

Creighton snaps two-game skid with win at Xavier

Mitch Ballock had 19 points and tied a season high with five 3-pointers, and Ty-Shon Alexander had 18 points and seven rebounds to lift Creighton to a 77-65 victory over host Xavier on Saturday in Cincinnati.

Jan 11, 2020; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Xavier Musketeers forward Tyrique Jones (4) dunks during the first half against the Creighton Bluejays at the Cintas Center. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Denzel Mahoney had 13 points, Christian Bishop had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Bluejays (13-4, 2-2 Big East), who had lost two in a row. Marcus Zegarowski added 11 points and five assists.

Naji Marshall had 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists to lead the Musketeers (12-5, 1-3), who have lost two straight at home after winning their first nine home games this season. Paul Scruggs had 19 points and nine rebounds for Xavier, while Tyrique Jones had 12 points.

Creighton, which averages 8.9 3-pointers per game, made 9 of 23 threes and had a 41-37 rebounding edge in coach Greg McDermott’s 500th career victory. The Bluejays made only seven threes in their previous two games, losses to ranked teams Butler and Villanova.

Xavier shot 40 percent was 5-of-26 from 3-point range, 19.2 percent. The Musketeers entered the game ranked 291st nationally with a 30.5 percentage from distance.

Ballock, Alexander and Zegarowski hit 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half as the Bluejays stretched their lead 32-27 halftime lead to 43-32 before Xavier responded.

Marshall’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 51-48 with 8:20 left before Alexander capped a 7-0 run with five straight points to push the Bluejays’ lead back to 11 at 59-48 with 4:50 left. The Musketeers never were closer than nine after that. Marshall had 15 points in the second half.

Both teams started slowly, but Zegarowski and Ballock hit 3-pointers to cap an 8-0 run for a 23-15 lead with 3:27 remaining in the first half. Ballock had 13 points in the half, 10 in the final 3 1/2 minutes, as Creighton made its last seven field goal attempts for a five-point edge.

Xavier had won four of their previous five in the series, including a second-round Big East tournament game last season.

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