NEW YORK, N.Y. — Second-seeded and 17th-ranked Creighton never trailed in a 87-56 win over 10th-seeded Butler on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Tournament, presented by Jeep.
With the win, the Bluejays advance to Friday’s semifinal round game that will tip at 8 p.m. Central and air on FS1. Creighton will play UConn.
Creighton raced out of the gates, scoring the game’s first seven points while getting five straight defensive stops en route to a 9-3 lead by the first media timeout. A 14-0 run helped the lead grow to 23-7 thanks to 11 early points from Damien Jefferson, but the senior forward would have to leave following a nasty collision with teammate Alex O’Connell after a basket.
Creighton’s lead would stretch as large as 18 (39-21) in the first half before settling for a 42-26 lead at the break. Jefferson made 6-of-7 shots and had 14 points and two blocked shots for CU, while 8-of-9 Bluejays too appear had at least one basket. The Bluejay reserves combined for 11 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks while shooting 5-for-5 in the first half. Creighton shot 66.7 percent for the half (18-27). Bryce Nze topped BU with 10 points in the first half, including a pair of three-pointers.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Zegarowski in the opening minutes of the second half helped Creighton to a 48-28 lead, and made Zegarowski the 10th player in CU history with 200 career trifectas. Triples a short time later by Shereef Mitchell, Zegarowski and Antwann Jones were part of a 13-0 run and expanded the Bluejay lead to 65-35 with 10:54 remaining.
Creighton led by as much as 33 (79-46) in the victory.
Zegarowski led Creighton with 18 points while also adding five assists. Creighton shot 62.5 percent for the contest, including 13-of-24 from three-point territory.