LAWRENCE, Kan. — A tie-breaking three-pointer by Jalen Wilson with 42.1 seconds left helped No. 5 Kansas hold on to beat No. 8 Creighton, 73-72, on Tuesday afternoon as part of the Big 12 – BIG EAST Battle at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.
Creighton got out of the gates quickly, holding the Jayhawks without a field goal over a three minute stretch as part of a 12-2 run to move ahead 14-8 and prompt a Kansas timeout. Eudora, Kan., native Mitch Ballock had six points and Kansas CIty area product Christian Bishop added five in the game’s first five minutes for the visitors. Kansas quickly answered with an 11-0 run to move ahead 21-16. after eight minutes.
The teams were deadlocked at 33 late in the first half before a three-pointer and three-point play by Jalen Wilson matched KU’s largest lead at 39-33. CU answered with a bucket inside from Christian Bishop, and the Bluejays went into the break trailing 39-35.
Bishop led CU with nine points and four rebounds at the break, while Ballock had four assists. Kansas was paced by 13 points from Wilson and a dozen by David McCormack. KU’s leading scorer, Ochai Agbaji (16.2 ppg.) was scoreless at the break.
A pair of three-pointers by Marcus Zegarowski and a lay-up by Denzel Mahoney helped CU move ahead 43-42, but a long triple by Wilson returned the lead to the hosts. It was part of a span where the redshirt freshman scored 12 straight points for the Jayhawks.
With the game even at 50 Kansas embarked on an 8-0 run that included a pair of three-pointers by Christian Braun before a Bishop free throw ended the spurt with 10:44 to go. The Bluejays held KU scoreless for nearly three minutes, but could only get within four points in that time. CU tied the game at 59 a short time later on a corner three-pointer by Denzel Mahoney with 7:10 to play.
Kansas pulled ahead 64-59 with five minutes to play after two buckets and a free throw as CU missed four straight tries from three-point range, then extended the margin to 67-61 on Braun’s third trey of the half. But CU answered with just its third offensive rebound of the game, a putback from Jefferson with 3:12 to go to slice KU’s lead to 67-63.
A 7-2 run, including a steal and score, by Denzel Mahoney helped CU tied the game at 70-all with 1:07 left as KU called another timeout with 1:03 remaining. Wilson came up big after the timeout, draining a three-pointer from the right wing with 42.1 seconds left. Zegarowski missed an open look at a game-tying shot with 15 seconds left and CU was forced to foul Braun with 12.5 left. He missed the free throw.
But Zegarowski would be fouled with 1.1 seconds left on a three-point try. He would make the first two, but his final try hit off the back rim and was not controlled before being batted out of bounds as time expired.
Creighton returns to the court on Friday at 6 p.m. when it hosts Nebraska at CHI Health Center Omaha. That game will air on BTN.