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Creighton Men upset Villanova on road

Creighton Men upset Villanova on road

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Denzel Mahoney scored a season-high 21 points to lead four Bluejays in double-figures as the Creighton men’s basketball team earned a 76-61 win at No. 8 Villanova on Saturday, Feb. 1.

Creighton (17-5, 6-3 BIG EAST) upped its win streak to four with the victory, while Villanova (17-4, 7-2 BIG EAST) had a seven-game win streak snapped. The Wildcats also squandered a chance to move into a tie for first place, as league leader Seton Hall was upended earlier in the day by Xavier. The loss was Villanova’s first at home in its last 22 home games dating to a November 2018 setback to Furman.

After falling behind 5-1 in the first three minutes, Creighton unleashed runs of 9-0 and 17-3 to build an 18-8 lead after a trey by Mitch Ballock. Three straight three-pointers by Ty-Shon Alexander later, the Bluejay lead ballooned to 27-12 to stun the partisan Wells Fargo Center crowd of 15,105.

Creighton would take a 35-23 lead into the break, with Alexander leading all players with 14 points and six rebounds in the first half. Creighton won the rebound battle 20-14, outscored VU 6-0 in transition and 14-10 in the paint before the break. Villanova was topped by 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting by freshman Justin Moore before half.

The Wildcats came out strong to open the second half, with Collin Gillespie leading the way. Nova drew within three (51-48) by the midpoint of the second stanza, with Gillespie contributing five baskets along the way.

Denzel Mahoney helped flip the momentum. The junior forward scored seven points during a 12-2 burst as the lead returned to double-figures at 63-50 with 6:05 to go. Nova forced a pair of Bluejay turnovers during a 7-0 run in the next two minutes to close to 63-57. But following the final media timeout, Ballock buried a three-pointer from the corner off an inbounds play to help quiet the crowd. Three straight Damien Jefferson drives helped CU ice the win.

Mahoney had 21 points, reaching double-figures for a sixth straight game. Also in double-figures were Zegarowski (13), Ballock (15) and Ty-Shon Alexander (16 points, 10 rebounds). The Bluejays made 11-of-22 three-pointers on the day and won the rebound battle, 38-34.

Villanova was paced by 18 points from Gillespie and Moore added 16. The Wildcats shot 36.1 percent from the floor and 7-of-26 three-pointers (26.9 percent).

Creighton remains on the road until Wednesday night’s road game at Providence, which tips at 6 p.m. Central.

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