VILLANOVA, PA.–(CU Athletics Jan. 5)– The Creighton men’s basketball team suffered its first BIG EAST loss of the season on Wednesday, Jan. 5, falling 75-41 at No. 19 Villanova. The victory was the 500th at Villanova for head coach Jay Wright.
Both teams are now 10-4 overall, with Villanova (3-1) one-half game ahead of Creighton (2-1) in the league standings.
Villanova forced Creighton into 10 turnovers during the first half and took a 36-22 lead into the locker room. The Wildcats closed the first half on a 13-2 run and won the rebound battle 17-11. Justin Moore (13), Brandon Slater (10) and Jermaine Samuels (9) accounted for 32 of Villanova’s 36 points.
The leading scorer for each team, Villanova’s Collin Gillespie and Creighton’s Ryan Hawkins, both went 0-for-1 from the field and were scoreless at the intermission after missing large chunks of the half after picking up two fouls .The Wildcats made 10-of-11 free throws in the opening half, while CU made its lone attempt from the charity stripe.
Moore made three consecutive shots in a span of 76 seconds as Villanova opened the second half on a 7-0 run to quickly expand its lead to 43-22, prompting a Bluejay timeout. Bryan Antoine followed with a trey before Alex O’Connell ended the Bluejay drought with a lay-up to stop VU’s 23-2 run. The Bluejays would get no closer than 20 (48-28) the rest of the night.
The Wildcats were led by Moore, who had 22 points after scoring a season-low six points in Creighton’s 79-59 win over the Wildcats on Dec. 17 in Omaha. Samuels added 18 points and seven rebounds for Nova. Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year Gillespie scored all 11 of his points in the game’s final nine minutes.
Creighton was paced by 13 points from senior Alex O’Connell, his fifth straight game in double-figures. The Bluejays shot 35.6 percent from the field and just 12.5 percent from the three-point line.
Creighton is scheduled to return to the court on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 8 p.m. when it hosts No. 16 Providence.