CHICAGO, Ill. — A game-ending 10-2 run helped No. 17 Creighton defeat DePaul, 69-62, in men’s basketball action on Saturday night in Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
The victory was the 13th straight for Creighton (13-4, 9-3 BIG EAST) over DePaul (3-7, 1-7 BIG EAST), and improved the Bluejays to 5-1 in BIG EAST road games this season.
Creighton led 14-8 after 11 minutes, forcing DePaul into 13 straight misses during a field goal drought of 8:45. Back-to-back triples by Marcus Zegarowski and Denzel Mahoney moved the Bluejay cushion into double-figures for the first time at 20-10 heading into the third media timeout of the first half. A flagrant foul on Creighton with 5:59 left in the first half led to a four-point possession for DePaul and helped ignite the Blue Demons comeback. An uncharacteristic technical foul on the Bluejays 99 seconds later gave DePaul two more free throws, and the Blue Demons would claw back to tie the score at 29-all by halftime.
Christian Bishop led CU with nine points and five rebounds in the first half, while Ray Salnave had DePaul’s last nine points of the opening stanza to head into the intermission with a game-high 12 points. Three early fouls limited Pauly Paulicap to just three minutes of first half work, and fellow forward Romeo Weems also picked up his second and third fouls on the same play with 4:05 left in the half.
The Bluejays would trail by as much as 48-42 before an inspired run keyed by reserves Ryan Kalkbrenner and Shereef Mitchell. The Bluejays scored nine points in a row to retake a 54-50 lead with 8:50 remaining, with Kalkbrenner (4) and Zegarowski (5) accounting for all those points.
The teams exchanged the lead 10 times in the first 17 minutes of the second half, with two free throws by Denzel Mahoney giving CU a 61-60 advantage with 3:02 to play that would open the decisive final run. After another defensive stop Zegarowski sank two pressure-packed free throws with 2:08 to play to stretch the Bluejay lead to 63-60. A Blue Demon turnover preceded a drive for a Damien Jefferson bucket, his first field goal of the game, with 1:39 remaining.
The teams traded scoreless trips until a Salnave hoop with 38.1 left brought DePaul within three at 65-62. Mahoney would be fouled with 32.4 left and sink both to put CU up 67-62. DePaul would miss a three-pointer but get the rebound, only to throw it out-of-bounds. Zegarowski then iced the game with two free throws with 18.7 left.
Zegarowski (19), Bishop (14), Kalkbrenner (12) and Mahoney (14) each scored in double-figures for CU, and Zegarowski topped CU with five helpers on the evening. Creighton was a perfect 11-for-11 at the charity stripe in the second half and shot 85 percent (17-20) overall at the line.
DePaul was led by a season-high 19 points from Salnave. The Blue Demons played without Preseason All-BIG EAST guard Charlie Moore due to injury. DePaul shot 36.9 percent for the game and 6-of-24 (25 percent) from deep.
Creighton returns home on Wednesday for an 8 p.m. start vs. Georgetown.