OMAHA, Neb. — Shooting better that 60 percent from the field, the Creighton men’s basketball team defeated Montana 98-72 on Wednesday, Nov. 28.
The win lifted the Bluejays to 6-1 on the season, while Montana fell to 4-2 overall.
Two first half shooting runs powered Creighton in the opening half, getting started from the opening tip as Creighton sank its first eight shots. The first Bluejay miss did not come until 12:10 remained in the first half, at which point the Bluejays had already drained five three-pointers. Despite the hot start the Bluejays held just a 21-16 lead as Montana’s Sayeed Pridgett was equally as hot. Pridgett bettered his season-high with 21 points in the first half alone, hitting 8-of-12 shots.
Pridgett’s fourth trey of the opening frame brought Montana within a bucket at 30-28 (7:55). Shortly thereafter the Grizzlies took 31-30 edge, eventually pushing their edge to 32-30 (6:23). Falling behind seemed to energize the Bluejays as Creighton responded with six straight points from their posts, getting four free throws by Martin Krampelj and a dunk from Jacob Epperson. The dunk started another shooting surge as the Bluejays hit six straight from the field, extending their lead to as much as 11 points at 49-38 (1:18) and taking a 49-40 edge into the locker room.
Creighton continued to sizzle from the field early in the second half, using an 8-0 run extend their lead to 57-40 with 17:56 left. Combined with a 9-2 Bluejay run over the final 3:45 of the first half, Creighton turned a two point edge (40-38) into a gap of 17 points.
After the Bluejays pushed the advantage to 18 points at 60-42 (16:34), Montana rallied with eight of nine points to make it 61-49 (14:21). Each team delivered bursts over the next three minutes with Creighton extending it back to 18 at 68-50, followed by Montana closing within 11 at 69-58 (11:38). That was as close as the Grizzlies would get as Creighton used a 13-3 run to put the game away at 82-61 with 7:47 left.
The Bluejays hit 29 of their first 44 shots (66%) and closed the game at 32-of-53 (60.4%).
For this first time this season five Bluejays finished in double figures led by 18 points from Damien Jefferson. Krampelj delivered a season-high 17 points, while Mitch Ballock had 14. Rounding out the Creighton quartet with 10 or more were 13 points from Ty-Shon Alexanderand 11 from Marcus Zegarowski.
Pridgett led the Grizzlies with 23 points in the game, while Michael Oguine posted 21 points including 14 in the second half. The Griz shot better than 50 percent from the field for a fifth straight game, finishing at 55.3 percent overall.
The Bluejays return to action on Saturday, Dec. 1 as Creighton hosts No. 1 Gonzaga at 1:00 pm in the CHI Health Center Omaha.