LINCOLN–(CU Athletics Jan. 9)–Six Bluejays scored in double-figures, led by 24 from senior Denzel Mahoney, as the short-handed No. 7 Creighton men’s basketball squad defeated St. John’s 97-79 on Saturday, Jan. 9.
Creighton’s sixth straight win pushed the Bluejays to 10-2 on the season and 6-1 in BIG EAST action, while St. John’s fell to 6-6 on the season and 1-5 in conference play. CU played the contest without the services of Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year Marcus Zegarowski, who was sidelined with an injury.
Down 13-12 (15:34) in the opening moments, the Bluejays began to sizzle from the field, hitting 11 of their next 15 shots to take control. The extended run took over 10 minutes as eight different players scored for Creighton during the surge, giving the Bluejays a 49-34 lead with 4:49 left in the half. By the break the Jays pushed their lead out to as much as 17 points, taking a 56-39 edge into the locker room.
Both teams were hot from the field in the first 20 minutes as Creighton went 22-for-37 (59.5%), while St. John’s was 16-for-31 (51.6%). Beyond the arc, however, was the separation in the first frame as the Bluejays were 10-for-20 (50%), while St. John’s was 3-for-8 (37.5%).
Mahoney’s 24 points led Creighton and his most in a Bluejay uniform, while the other five to reach double figures in points were senior Alex O’Connell (16), senior Mitch Ballock (14), senior Damian Jefferson (11), junior Christian Bishop (10) and sophomore Shereef Mitchell (10). Creighton drained a season-best 16 three-pointers in the contest, as Ballock, Mahoney and O’Connell each made four triples. Creighton shot 54.4 percent for the game (37-68) from the field and got 28 bench points.
St. John’s got a game-high and career-high 33 points from Julian Champagnie, who also finished with 10 rebounds for his league-high fourth double-double of the season.
The Bluejays return to the court on Saturday, Jan. 16 in a road contest at Butler. The game will be televised on FOX, with a 1:00 pm (CT) tip.