KANSAS CITY, Mo.–(CU Athletics Nov. 23)–The No. 8 Creighton men’s basketball team suffered its first loss of the season, falling to unbeaten Colorado State, 69-48, in the championship game of the 2023 Hall of Fame Classic.
The Bluejays fall to 5-1 on the season after coming up short of its first 6-0 start since 2016-17. Colorado State is 6-0 after its first top-10 win since 1984.
Colorado State’s suffocating defense helped the Rams take a 27-19 lead into the break, holding CU to 22.9 percent shooting from the field and 15.8 percent from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes. Ryan Kalkbrenner led CU with six points in the first half, while Rashaan Mbemba and Isaiah Stevens both had six points for CU before intermission. CSU, which entered the game ranked 14th nationally in three-point percentage at 41.2 percent, missed its final 11 three-point shots of the first half after sinking one by Joel Scott on its opening possession.
The Rams scored the first five points of the second half and built a lead as large as 35-21 before the Bluejay offense finally kicked into gear. CU’s seniors made four straight shots, including three scores by Kalkbrenner, to bring the pro-Bluejay crowd to life and force a CSU timeout.. The Rams answered with 11 of the next 14 points and move ahead 46-29 as CU called timeout, and CU never got any closer than 13 points the rest of the way..
The CU offense was led by 13 points by Scheierman and 12 points from Kalkbrenner. CU shot a season-low 27.9 percent in the contest and made a season-low six three-point shots.
Stevens, who was named the 2023 Hall of Fame Classic MVP, had 22 points, six rebounds and seven assists two years after turning in a 17 point, 11 assist double-double against CU. CSU won the rebound battle 43-34 and shot 47.6 percent from the floor.
Creighton returns to the court on Thursday, Nov. 30th, when it visits Oklahoma State at 8 p.m. on ESPN2 as part of the BIG EAST – Big 12 Battle.