OMAHA, Neb. — After a slow start, the Creighton men’s basketball found its groove as the Bluejays closed the game on a 72-16 run to cruise to a comfortable 94-46 victory.
Not intimidated coming into CenturyLink Center Omaha, the Beavers used a hot start to take a 12-5 lead going into the first media timeout. Bemidji State came out of the media timeout as they started, extending the lead up to 10, holding a 21-11 edge before a Creighton timeout (12:46). The Beavers shot 8-12 in the opening seven minutes, with nine coming from Sharif Black and five from Jai’Vionne Green.
Creighton relied on the bench to create a spark with a trey from Jacob Epperson (12:22) and a jumper from Mitch Ballock (11:58) closing the gap within five. Down 30-22 with 8:17, Creighton turned on the jets, ignited by an 8-0 run from four different scorers to tie the game at 30 apiece. Moments later a Kaleb Joseph free throw gave Creighton its first lead at 31-30 (4:49). The Bluejays continued the momentum in what finished as a 23-4 run with eight different scorers for the Bluejays in the final 8:17 to end the half with a 45-34 lead.
Creighton created nine Bemidji State turnovers in the first half while giving up only one, leading to a 14-2 edge in points off turnovers. The Bluejays outscored the Beavers 28-14 in the paint while collecting 12 assists.
Creighton came out with the hot hand in the second half, an early 9-1 burst was capped by a Ronnie Harrell trey (16:38) to push the lead to 54-35. Treys from Marcus Foster (14:26), Epperson (13:53) and Tyler Clement (12:31) highlighted another run Bluejay run with 18 straight points and extending the lead to 72-37 with 10:07 left to play in the contest. Creighton closed out the last 10 minutes outscoring the Beavers 22-9, cruising to a comfortable 94-46 victory.
Epperson led the way for the Bluejays with 15 points and six rebounds. Marcus Foster ended the night with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Tyler Clement (11) and Khyri Thomas (10) also scored double-digits for Creighton. A total of 11 different Bluejays found their way on the score sheet.
Creighton held Bemidji State to just 27 percent shooting from the field (17-63), while shooting 52 percent themselves (38-73). The Bluejays won a 48-36 rebounding battle, out-creating the Beavers 23 compared to Bemidji’s eight.