OMAHA–(CU Athletics Dec. 13)–A combined 43 points from guards Ty-Shon Alexander and Marcus Zegarowski and a dominant effort on defense lifted the Creighton men’s basketball team to an 89-58 win over Texas-Rio Grande Valley on Friday, Dec. 13th.
With the win the Bluejays move to 8-2 on the season, while UTRGV fell to 4-6 overall.
Holding a 6-5 edge in the opening moments, junior Damien Jefferson pushed Creighton’s edge to 12-5 (15:35) with three consecutive buckets. The Bluejay advantage grew steadily throughout the first half, reaching double figures at 22-12 (11:40) and growing to 18 at 40-22 with two minutes remaining before the break. Zegarowski capped the opening half for Creighton with a three pointer in the final seconds to send the Bluejays the locker room holding a 45-24 edge.
While Creighton’s offensive output was impressive in the first half (shooting 56 percent of 14-of-26 from the field), the difference in the game was the Bluejays’ ability to frustrate UTRGV on defense. The Bluejays forced the Vaqueros into 11 turnovers and just 11 made field goals in the opening 20 minutes, as UTRGV shot 33.3 percent (11-of-33) from the field.
Leading 52-31 early in the second half, the Bluejays dealt the knockout blow via a 12-2 run to push their advantage to 31 at 64-33. Zegarowski led the charge with five points during the run, while Christian Bishop delivered four points and Alexander contributed the final three. Creighton extended its lead to as much as 35 points (80-45 with 4:40 remaining), and cruised to its largest margin of victory this season.
Alexander led all scorers with 22 points, including 13 from the free throw line, while Zegarowski finished with 21 points on 9-of-13 from the field. Mitch Ballock also delivered double figures for the Bluejays with 11 points. All 10 Bluejays to hit the floor scratched the scoring column with at least three points.
Jordan Jackson led UTRGV with 13 points in the loss, while Javon Levi delivered 10 points. The Vaqueros finished the game with 25 made baskets (25-of-63), shooting 39.7 percent, but committed 20 turnovers in the contest. Omaha native Anthony Bratton had six points and two rebounds in 18 minutes of work.
The Bluejays return to the hardwood on Tuesday, Dec. 17th as Creighton hosts Oklahoma at 7:30 pm at CHI Health Center Omaha.