Creighton men rolls St John
OMAHA, Neb. -- Career nights from Alex O'Connell (28), Arthur Kaluma (20) and Trey Alexander (11) helped the Creighton men's basketball team to an 87-64 victory over visiting St. John's on Wednesday, Jan. 19th.
The Bluejays improved to 11-5 overall and 3-2 in BIG EAST play in their first home game in 33 days, while St. John's dropped to 10-6 (2-3 BIG EAST).
St. John's scored on its opening possession and led for all of nine seconds before Ryan Hawkins scored five straight points to open a 7-0 run. The Bluejays would not trail again. CU led 14-7 at the first media timeout after back-to-back hoops from Kaluma and stretched the margin to 20-7 following a dunk from Ryan Kalkbrenner. The Red Storm countered with nine straight points to get within five at 21-16, but would get no closer.
O'Connell scored 10 points in a span of 52 seconds during a 12-3 run as the Jays lead ballooned to 42-28 with four minutes left before half. The senior drained a trey to put CU up 35-25 and 29 seconds later he converted his second four-point play of the season. O'Connell sank another triple on the ensuing trip to cap a 17 point first half.
CU led 49-34 at the break, shooting 56.3 percent from the field, including 7-of-11 three-pointers, and the Bluejays also owned up a 25-12 rebounding edge. O'Connell also helped shut down the league's leading scorer, Julian Champagnie, who was 1-for-10 in the first half and scored just three points.
Reigning BIG EAST Freshman of the Week Ryan Nembhard picked up his third foul at the 17:47 mark with the Bluejays holding a 52-37 lead. Creighton immediately embarked on a 15-5 lead featuring six points each from O'Connell and Alexander as the Jays built a 69-42 lead with 12:21 left.
Champagnie answered with SJU's next eight points but the Creighton lead remained 20 or higher for the final 14:24 of the game.
O'Connell's 28 points were six more points than his previous career-high set on Saturday at Xavier. He made 6-of-9 three-pointers and 9-of-14 shots overall. O'Connell also added seven rebounds. Kaluma drained 4-of-5 three-pointers and finished with 20 points, while Alexander had 11 points on 4-of-6 marksmanship. Hawkins added 13 points while Kalkbrenner had nine points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. The Bluejays made a season-high 14 three-pointers in 27 attempts (51.9 percent) and shot an even 50 percent for the game on 31-of-62 shooting. CU won the rebound battle 50-31.
Champagnie led SJU with 17 points but shot 7-of-21 for the evening. Reigning BIG EAST Freshman of the Year Posh Alexander was held to season-lows of nine points and one steal, and the league's second-leading offensive rebounder was held without one. The Red Storm shot 38.6 percent for the game, including 25 percent from downtown, despite outscoring CU 34-24 in the paint.
Creighton is back in action on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. when it hosts DePaul.