ROSEMONT, Ill. — Khryi Thomas had 24 points and 11 rebounds and three Bluejay newcomers combined for 28 points in their first road game as the Creighton men’s basketball team earned a 92-88 win over No. 20 Northwestern at Allstate Arena on Wednesday in the Gavitt Tipoff Games.
Creighton improved to 3-0 while handing Northwestern (2-1) its first loss.
Creighton broke free midway through the first half thanks to three newcomers. Freshmen Ty-Shon Alexander and Mitch Ballock combined with senior transfer Manny Suarez to score 16 straight for the Bluejays, and a 10-0 run a short time later gave CU a 44-29 lead. Northwestern closed the half on a 14-7 run to trim the Bluejay lead to 51-43 at the half.
Northwestern would score the first seven points of the second half to draw within one at 51-50 and would use a four-point play by Vic Law to move ahead 56-55 for its first lead since 8-7.
Creighton maintained its composure, building the lead back to eight at 73-65 on a basket by Suarez, only to see Northwestern answer with the next six points to make it a one score game. Marcus Foster hit a three-pointer to give Creighton a 73-68 lead with 4:21 to play. After a Northwestern free throw, another Foster triple stretched CU’s lead to 85-78 with 3:40 to go.
Northwestern countered with two free throws by Law and a jumper by Law before Krampelj finished inside to give CU an 87-82 lead with 1:29 left. After a Ronnie Harrell Jr. free throw, Scottie Lindsey buried a contested three-pointer to cut CU’s margin to 88-85 with 58.2 to go.
The Jays milked the shot clock and Thomas missed a shot, but another putback by Krampelj gave CU a 90-85 lead with 26.5 left. NU’s Gavin Skelly would sink a trey to drop CU’s lead to 90-88 with 17.7 left. Thomas would be fouled with 15.4 left, making both, to tie his career-high with 24 points, for the final score.
Besides Thomas, Krampelj had a career-high 17 points, as did Alexander with 14, and Foster (12) also scored in double-figures. Creighton shot 51.5 percent for the game and drained 14-of-16 foul shots on the night.
Northwestern was paced by 30 points from Law and 24 more from McIntosh. NU made 12-of-28 three-point tries.
Creighton returns to action on Monday at 6 p.m. when it meets No. 23 UCLA at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., as part of the 2017 Hall of Fame Classic.