OMAHA–(CU Athletics Jan. 18)–No. 25 Creighton used a 9-0 run in the final 86 seconds to erase a late five-point deficit and knock off Providence, 78-74, on Saturday, Jan. 18th.
Creighton improves to 14-5 on the year and 3-3 in BIG EAST play, while Providence drops to 11-8 and is 4-2 in league action.
Ty-Shon Alexander had a season-high 24 points to lead CU, and Marcus Zegarowski shook off pre-game dizziness to hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 3.2 seconds left. After a Friars turnover, Alexander hit an insurance foul shot with 2.2 left to ice the victory. Also in double-figures for CU was Mitch Ballock (17), Damien Jefferson (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Denzel Mahoney (14).
Providence was led by a career-high 36 points from David Duke, 14 more than his previous best. The sophomore guard scored PC’s final 15 points and was the only Friar in double-figures.
Creighton led 41-37 at the half and scored the first four points after the break to take its biggest lead of the afternoon at 45-37. Providence would answer with a 15-6 run on a hoop from preseason All-BIG EAST wing Alpha Diallo, going ahead 52-51 with 11:17 remaining, the first of eight second half lead changes.
Duke made three-pointers on three straight possessions to push the Friars in front 70-67 with 3:51 left. Two foul shots with 1:41 to go by Duke moved PC ahead 74-69 before Creighton started its rally.
Ballock found Alexander for a three-pointer with 1:26 left to make it a two-point game. Diallo would miss and Alexander tied the game on a contested jumper with 36.6 to play.
Providence would move the ball past midcourt before calling time with 30.4 left and 24 on the shot clock. Duke would drive, only to lose control of the ball and have it snatched away from Mahoney with 10.8 to play. The possession arrow favored Creighton, giving the hosts a chance for the win. CU inbounded to Zegarowski, who took five dribbles before calmly pulling up from the top of the key and drained a three-pointer with the hand of PC’s Luwane Pipkins in his face.
Both teams called timeout before Duke had his inbounds pass towards midcourt stolen away by Alexander, who was immediately fouled. The Bluejay junior drained the free throw with 2.2 left for the final margin. It capped a big day for Alexander, who made 8-of-10 field goal attempts and moved from 42nd to 37th on Creighton’s all-time scoring list with 1,027 career points.
Creighton returns to action on Wednesday with a 8 p.m. game at DePaul that will air on CBS Sports Network.