Zegarowski, Alexander lead Creighton past Oklahoma 83-73
The Associated Press - December 19, 2019 8:41 am
LEE BARFKNECHT, Associated Press
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – Creighton shot a season-low field-goal percentage and went more than nine minutes in the second half without a basket at home, yet never trailed after the first five minutes in rolling past Oklahoma 83-73 on Tuesday night in the Big 12/Big East Battle.
The Bluejays improved to 9-2 by drilling 29 of 36 free throws, both season highs.
“It was not a typical type of game that usually we are successful in,” CU coach Greg McDermott said. “We don’t want a game with a lot of fouls and a lot of stoppage.”
The sometimes-balky pace didn’t bother Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski. The sophomore guard scored a team-high 20 points – he hit 12 of 14 free throws – and added eight rebounds and seven assists. He praised his team’s spunk in knocking off the taller Sooners.
“We’re not the biggest team and we’re not the strongest team,” the 6-foot-2 Zegarowski said. “But we can be the toughest team, and I think tonight we showed that.”
Joining Zegarowski in double figures was Ty-Shon Alexander with 19 points and 11 rebounds, Mitch Ballock with 17 points and seven rebounds and Denzel Mahoney with 14 points, in his first game since gaining eligibility after transferring from Southeast Missouri State.
Creighton, which entered the night shooting 47.8%, was held to 36.8%, but still improved its home record to 8-0, with every victory by at least nine points. Oklahoma (7-3) and playing away from home for the fifth straight game, lost their second straight and for the third time in the past five games.
“Creighton just had a little upper hand all night,” OU coach Lon Kruger said. “They were quick to loose balls and quicker on the boards, and had things going the way they wanted to.
Creighton, up 41-38 at halftime, started the second half on a 13-3 run to go ahead 54-41 with 16:15 to play. All five Bluejay starters scored in that burst.
Oklahoma responded with a 15-4 run of its own to close to 58-56 with 11:33 to play, with Austin Reaves scoring six of his game-high 23 points in that stretch.
But Creighton cranked up its defense from there, holding OU scoreless for the next 5:41 while converting eight free throws and a 3-pointer from Ballock to break the field-goal drought and eventually take a 71-56 lead with 6:01 left.
Oklahoma never got closer than nine points after that.
Kristian Doolittle added 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Sooners.
Oklahoma, after a 5-0 start, will finally return home for the first time in a month in hopes of shaking off three losses in the past five games.
Creighton, now with wins over Texas Tech and Oklahoma, will try to add another power conference victory at Arizona State.
NEW MAN ON CAMPUS
Creighton’s Mahoney, who just became eligible last weekend after transferring from Southeast Missouri State, didn’t have to wait long to enter his first game. Just 17 seconds in, teammate Christian Bishop drew a foul and Mahoney was sent in to replace him. The 6-5 225-pound forward went on to play 29 minutes, producing 14 points, one rebound and one assist.
Oklahoma was outrebounded 46 to 41 by Creighton. The Sooners, in their other two losses, were outrebounded by 19 and 17.
Oklahoma hosts UCF on Saturday afternoon.
Creighton plays at Arizona State on Saturday night.