Creighton men's basketball beats UCONN to win 8th straight

greg mcdermott creighton uconn
Posted at 10:47 PM, Feb 11, 2023

OMAHA (KMTV) — The 23rd ranked Creighton men's basketball team hung on to beat 21st ranked UCONN on Saturday in Omaha, 56-53.

Courtesy: CU Media Relations

Led by a stifling defense and 17 points from sophomore Trey Alexander, the No. 23 Creighton men's basketball team defended its home court with a 56-53 win over No. 21 Connecticut on Saturday, February 11.

Creighton's eighth straight victory lifts the Bluejays to 17-8 on the season and 11-3 in BIG EAST play, while the Huskies fell to 19-7 overall and 8-7 in conference action.

Knotted at 40-40 with just under 13 minutes remaining, Alexander took over with a pivotal three-pointer from the right wing. On the defensive end, the Oklahoma native forced a steal and went to the rim to give the Bluejays a 45-40 edge (12:21).

Alexander's bucket, however, was Creighton's last field goal for nearly eight minutes. Despite the cold stretch, the Bluejay defense held firm and refused to give up the lead. The Huskies finally pulled even at 46-46 with 7:38 remaining.

Four Bluejay free throws put Creighton back in front, then a layup from junior Ryan Kalkbrenner with 4:32 remaining pushed the advantage out to 52-46.

Connecticut answered immediately with a trey from Alex Karaban, but Alexander delivered another driving layup to make it 54-49 with 1:53 left.

Leading 54-51 in the closing moments, Connecticut put a scare into the 18,266 Creighton faithful with a Jordan Hawkins shot originally ruled a three-pointer to tie the game with 2.7 seconds remaining. After an official review the shot was changed to a two-pointer, giving Creighton the ball and a one-point edge (54-53). Kalkbrenner put the game away with a pair of free throws with 2.3 left.

A back-and-forth opening half saw Creighton push a 6-5 lead out to 14-5 by holding Connecticut scoreless for just under five minutes (4:59). During the stretch the Bluejays got contributions from senior Baylor Scheierman, Kalkbrenner and four points by Alexander.

Foul trouble for Alexander and fellow sophomore Arthur Kaluma helped Connecticut crawl back into the game as Creighton held a 31-29 edge at the half.

Alexander led Creighton with 17 points in the game, while Kalkbrenner finished with 12 and Scheierman added 11. The Bluejays shot 39.6 percent from the field, 31.3 percent from deep and 76.5 percent at the line. CU outscored UConn 13-8 off turnovers, 24-18 in the paint and 9-0 in transition.

Connecticut got 17 points and 10 rebounds from Adama Sanogo in the loss, while Hawkins scored all 11 of his points in the second half. The Huskies shot a season-low 32.3 percent, but did make 100 percent at the line while tying a season-low with four free throw attempts. The Huskies won the rebound battle 40-34, turning 18 offensive rebounds into 13 second chance points.

The Bluejays return to action on Tuesday, February 14 in a road contest at No. 20 Providence, with tip-off set for 6 p.m. Central.