MEN’S BASKETBALL: Tenth-ranked Creighton Takes Down No. 9 Arkansas in Maui Classic Semifinal

MAUI, Hawaii –(CU Athletics Nov. 22)– No. 10 Creighton improved to 6-0 with a 90-87 win over No. 9 Arkansas in the second round of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Combined with Monday’s win over No. 21, it’s the first time in program history that Creighton has beaten ranked teams on consecutive days.

The Bluejays will play for the Maui Jim Maui Invitational title on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Central in a game that will be televised on ESPN. The Jays will face No. 14 Arizona.

Ryan Nembhard had a career-high 25 points to lead three Bluejays with 20 points or more, as Ryan Kalkbrenner had 21 and Baylor Scheierman finished with 20. It marks the first time the Bluejays have had three men with 20+ points since March 21, 2011 vs. Davidson.

Creighton made four three-pointers in the first eight minutes to take an early 19-10 lead.  Nembhard made his first three attempts, while Scheierman converted CU’s first four-point play of the season.

Creighton remained in the lead, but pulled away with a 10-2 run after Arkansas had drawn within two at 26-24 to extend its lead to 36-26 with four minutes with three minutes left in the first half. Arkansas would score the final six points before the intermission to slice Creighton’s deficit in half to 40-34. Nembhard (13), Scheierman (11) and Kalkbrenner (10) led the Bluejays in the first half, while Anthony Black paced all scorers with 14 for the Razorbacks.

The Razorbacks took their first lead at 46-45 and from there it was a bloodbath as neither team could break free as the physicality increased. The Jays took a 70-64 lead thanks to a 7-0 run in 70 seconds. Nembhard made two free throws, Arthur Kaluma threw down a dunk and Scheierman drained a deep three-pointer with 7:52 remaining. Arkansas scored the next five to draw within one but missed a free throw to tie it with 5:16 left.

Back-to-back treys by Arkansas’ Tevon Brazile tied the game at 79 with 2:22 left, but Kaluma gave CU the lead back with a tip-in with 1:45 left. CU went ahead on a reverse slam by Kalkbrenner with 1:01 left and Arkansas missed a go-ahead three-pointer. Trey Alexander was fouled with 37.7 left and sank both to give CU an 85-81 advantage. Black got fouled with 29.4 left and made the first one before a lane violation on the Razorbacks negated the second attempt. CU missed two free throws with 26.9 left and fouled Davonte Davis, who sank his first two attempts of the day with 18.8 remaining to make it a one-point game again.

After a Bluejay timeout the Razorbacks fouled Scheierman with 16.1 left. He made both to put CU up by three. Arkansas guard Ricky Council IV missed an open three-pointer from the corner that could have tied it and Nembhard was fouled with 7.8 left. He made both to give CU an 88-84 lead.. The Razorbacks pushed it upcourt and Black made a three-pointer with 2.3 left.  Alexander was fouled with 1.9 left and sank both and a half-court heave from Arkansas was off-target as Creighton celebrated a second consecutive top-25 victory.

Black had 26 and Council 24 for the Hogs, while Brazile had 17 points and three blocks off the bench. The Hogs shot 47.1 percent for the game and made 8-fo-15 three pointers in the second half after being shutout in five tries from downtown before the break.

Creighton shot 58.5 percent, including 7-of-14 from three-point range, and drained 21-of-29 free throws. Seven rebounds by Scheierman and Kalkbrenner helped CU win the board battle 35-31.

NOTES:  This was the third time ever that Creighton played in a game with both teams ranked in the top-10 and first such victory … Creighton now owns 49 all-time wins vs. top-25 competition, with 31 of those coming under Greg McDermott … Twelve of Creighton’s 17 top-10 wins all-time have coming under McDermott … Creighton has beaten multiple ranked teams in each of the past eight seasons … Trey Alexander had a season-high six assists for CU after entering the afternoon with seven all season … Creighton has Arkansas owned a 21-3 lead in points off turnovers and a 21-3 lead in bench points … Creighton led for 33:45, while Arkansas led for 2:08 in the game that featured 10 ties and 10 lead changes.