Wild shooting pushes 'Cats past Jays

Published: Feb. 1, 2018 at 8:18 PM CST
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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Four years after Creighton put on a shooting display for the ages with a BIG EAST record 21 three-pointers at Wells Fargo Center against Villanova, it was the No. 1 Wildcats turning the tables on CU in a 98-78 win Thursday night in Philadelphia. The Wildcats sank 19-of-39 treys in the contest, tying the school-record for three-pointers in a game set earlier this season in a win over Saint Joseph's.

Villanova won its eighth straight game to improve to 21-1 overall and are now 8-1 in BIG EAST play in search of a fifth consecutive league title. Creighton fell to 17-6 overall (7-4 BIG EAST), with five of those losses coming against top-25 competition.

The game was tied at 18-all after nine minutes and Nova led 25-22 after 11 minutes before the Wildcats went on one of its patented runs. A 15-0 run in less than two minutes pushed the Wildcat lead to 40-22. Creighton answered with the next 10 points before Villanova closed the first half on a 9-2 run to take a 49-34 lead into the half.

Khyri Thomas led CU with seven points and four rebounds in the first half, while three other Bluejays owned six points each. Creighton shot 15-of-29 in the opening half and dished 10 assists on 15 field goals. All-America candidate Jalen Brunson led Villanova with 17 points in the first half, including 4-of-4 shooting from three-point territory. Mikal Bridges added 12 points for VU, which shot 19-of-32 from the field (59.4 percent) and 10-of-18 from distance (55.6 percent) while dishing 13 assists against just three turnovers before the break.

The Wildcat lead remained 13 or larger the entire second half, reaching as large as 86-59 with 6:51 remaining.

Bridges led all Villanova players with 21 points, including 3-of-6 three-point marksmanship. He was one of six Wildcats to sink multiple three-pointers. Brunson added 19 points and Donte DiVincenzo contributed 17 points, six rebounds and five assists. The Wildcats shot 37-for-68 (54.2 percent) overall and also won the rebound battle, 35-25.

Foster paced the Bluejays with 20 points, his fifth straight game of 20 or more points, while Thomas added 12 points and was 5-for-5 from the field. Also scoring in double-figures for CU were Kaleb Joseph (12), Ty-Shon Alexander (10) and Toby Hegner (10). The Bluejays shot 49.0 percent on the night and outscored the Wildcat reserves, 31-16. Creighton shot 22-of-24 at the free-throw line, all in the second half after the Wildcats were whistled for one foul in the first 20 minutes.

Creighton returns to action on Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. when it makes its first trip to Wintrust Arena to take on DePaul.