Creighton Wins Big East Opener

Creighton hit nine three-pointers in the second half and held off Providence to post a 79-68 win over the host Friars on Monday afternoon to open BIG EAST play.

Both teams are now 10-4.

Creighton broke free from the Friars with an impressive shooting display that saw the Bluejays sink 9-of-10 three-pointers in one stretch during the second half, and 13-of-29 from long range on the day.

Creighton took a 34-31 lead into the locker room. The Bluejays trailed 13-9 after eight minutes, then went up 28-22 thanks to a 19-9 run in which they didn't turn the ball over. CU held the Friars scoreless for nearly four minutes during a 9-0 run that put the Jays up by six. CU's first 22 points came from its starting unit before freshmen Christian Bishop and Marcus Zegarowski combined to score seven of CU's final dozen points before the break.

The Bluejays and Friars exchanged the lead four times in the first seven minutes of the second half before CU went up 52-48 with 12:04 left on back-to-back three-pointers by Zegarowski and Mitch Ballock to prompt an Ed Cooley timeout. The Friars answered with the next five points to regain the lead, including a four-point play by Alpha Diallo, only to see CU move back ahead on triples by Kaleb Joseph and Ty-Shon Alexander for a 58-53 advantage with 10:31 to go. The lead stretched to 64-56 with 7:50 remaining when Ballock beat the shot clock with a three-pointer in the corner.

Creighton took its largest lead at 69-58 after Davion Mintz hit a pair of free throws with 5:21 remaining. The Friars got within seven at 73--66 with 1:30 left on a hoop by Maliek White

Alexander led Creighton with 18 points, while Martin Krampelj (16), Ballock (16) and Zegarowski (12) also scored in double-figures. The Jays made 13-of-29 three-pointers for the game, and hit 16-of-19 free throws. Creighton won the rebound battle 37-35 and had 20 bench points on the afternoon.

Providence was paced by 18 points and 10 rebounds by Alpha Diallo. Maliek White had 13 points, David Duke 11 and Makai Ashton-Langford contributed 10 points before fouling out.

Creighton's next game will also be on the road, as the Bluejays visit Butler on Saturday at 11 a.m. Central in a game that will also be televised nationally on FS1.

NOTES: Creighton and Providence were meeting on New Year's Eve for the third time in the past five seasons ... Creighton has made a three-pointer in 830 straight games, a three-pointer before halftime in 201 consecutive contests and five or more treys in 50 straight games ... Ty-Shon Alexander has made at least one three-pointer in each of the last 18 games ... Creighton has won its league opener in six of nine years under Greg McDermott, and 15 of the last 21 years overall ... Greg McDermott improved to 9-2 as a head coach on New Year's Eve, including a 5-2 mark with the Bluejays .. Creighton has scored 75 points or more in each of its last 15 wins, and is 4-0 in league play against Providence when scoring 75 or more.