NEWARK, NJ.–(CU Athletics)–The No. 17 Creighton men’s basketball team erased a 16-point second half deficit with a game-ending 14-2 run to stun Seton Hall, 85-81, in Newark on Wednesday night.
Creighton (12-4, 8-3 BIG EAST) trailed 68-52 with 10:40 to play before embarking on a 33-13 burst to stun the hosts and earn a season sweep over Seton Hall ((9-7, 6-4 BIG EAST). It was Creighton’s largest comeback victory since overcoming an 18-point deficit vs. No. 18 Oklahoma in 2014. The victory kept the Bluejays in second place in the BIG EAST, as well.
Mitch Ballock, who had a season-high 29 points, hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 37.8 seconds left to make it 84-81. The Bluejays then forced the Pirates into three misses on potential game-tying three-pointers before a clinching free throw by Denzel Mahoney with 1.8 seconds remaining.
Ballock (29), Marcus Zegarowski (18), Damien Jefferson (14) and Mahoney (13) led the Bluejay offense. Creighton made 17-of-35 three-pointers on the night.
Bryce Aiken led Seton Hall with 21 points, while Myles Cale had 20 and Jared Rhoden added 13. The Pirates outscored Creighton 27-7 off the bench.
Creighton’s vaunted three-point offense came out of the gates on fire, making six of its first seven shots to quickly build a 22-14 lead. Seton Hall answered with a 9-0 run to retake a one-point lead before back-to-back triples from Alex O’Connell and Ballock returned the Jays in front by a 28-23 count. But Seton Hall’s offense kicked into overdrive itself, uncorking a 31-13 run in the final nine minutes of the half. The Pirates led by as much as 13 (54-41) before a Zegarowski three-pointer just before the halftime buzzer trimmed SHU’s advantage to 54-44 at the break. Cale made 7-of-9 shots to score 18 before the break.
The Seton Hall lead surged to 15 following a 7-0 run that made it 63-48 as CU missed nine consecutive shots at one point. Aiken, who entered the game with 23 points all season in eight appearances, spearheaded the charge with nine points in the first nine minutes of the half.
After trailing by as much as 16 (68-52), CU drew within five with 3:01 to play on Ballock’s sixth three-pointer of the evening, then within two at 79-77 when Mahoney banked in a triple from teh top of the key with 2:02 left. The Jays got a defensive stop and were fouled while securing a rebound, where Zegarowski made a free throw to draw the Jays within one with 1:39 left.
Zegarowski’s pull-up three-pointer with 1:05 left gave Creighton an 81-79 lead, its first advantage since 28-27, before Takal Molson’s lay-up with 51.2 to go tied the game.
Cale topped Seton Hall with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the first half, while Aiken had 12 points in nine minutes off the bench for the Pirates. Creighton was paced by 13 points from Ballock and 11 by Zegarowski. CU shot 10-of-15 from deep in the opening half, but were outscored 9-2 at the charity stripe.
Creighton returns to the court on Saturday when it visits DePaul in a 7 p.m. tip that will air on CBS Sports Network.