Omaha – With the Big East regular season championship on the line, the Creighton Bluejays captured their first Big East championship since they joined the league in 2014 with a 77-60 win over Seton Hall.
Creighton (24-7) will clinch a share of the Big East title with Villanova and Seton Hall (21-9). With the share, the Pirates win their first Big East championship since 1993.
Creighton shot 54.7% from the field and an astonishing 64.3% in the second half finishing the game shooting 14-of-26 from the 3-point line. Seton Hall entered the game as the second-best field goal percentage defense in the Big East and had no answer to the lightning-quick Bluejays.
Junior guard Ty-Shon Alexander held Senior guard Myles Powell, the second-leading scorer in the Big East to 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting and helped force four turnovers on the Wooden Award finalist.
Sophomore guard Marcus Zegarowski was the catalyst for the explosive offense of the Bluejays. Zegarowski finished with 23 points while shooting 80% from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 from the 3-point line. Junior Denzel Mahoney finished with 16. Alexander contributed 15.
Seton Hall came into Omaha with a Big East regular season championship on their mind. The Pirates controlled the pace early slowing down the Bluejay’s high powered offense. Seton Hall opened up a quick 11-6 lead with an 8-0 run that only took the Pirates 1:16.
Powell was quiet early, but fellow senior guard Quincy McKnight fueled the Pirates with seven early points as the Pirates were 3-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. Creighton ran off of their defense when they could to score seven easy fast break points in the first half to keep steady with the Pirates.
Powell picked up his second foul with 10:53 remaining in the first half and the Pirates leading by two. With Powell on the bench, the Bluejay’s defense stifled the Pirates which led to a 15-4 run. Zegarowski scored six of his 15 first half points with two 3-pointers with Powell on the bench. Creighton shot 42% from 3-point range in the first half.
Powell returned after the Pirates 2-point lead changed into a 27-21 deficit to guide Seton Hall to end the half on an 11-4 run and holding Creighton scoreless in the final 2:17 of the first half.
Deadlocked for over 13 minutes in the second half, neither team could gain more than a 5-point advantage. On multiple occasions, Creighton made a play to get an advantage and the crowd at CHI Health Center Omaha would begin to bring the Bluejays momentum. Each time the Pirates would answer. Powell and McKnight kept the game within reach, but ultimately the Bluejays exhilarating offense performance was too much.
After sophomore Jared Rhoden gave the Pirates a 50-47 lead with a 3-point basket. Sophomore forward Christian Bishop answered for Creighton with a 3-point play to ignite a 7-0 Bluejay run. The run seemed to be all that Creighton needed as they outscored Seton Hall 30-10 for the final 9:00 of play.
With the win, Creighton will be the No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament and will play in New York on March 12.
Seton Hall clinches a share of the Big East title and will fall to the third seed in the Big East tournament.