Creighton never trailed, or came close to trailing, as it started the new year and its BIG EAST conference schedule on the right foot with a dominant 92-75 win over Marquette in Omaha.
Five players reached double-figures for Creighton (12-2, 1-0 BIG EAST), as the Bluejays never saw their shooting percentage dip under 50 percent after the 13:18 mark in the first half. Only a cold streak at the end of the already-won game resulted in Creighton’s final shooting percentage being an even 50 percent on 33-of-66 field goals made.
The Bluejays were led by Mitch Ballock’s 24 points and Ty-Shon Alexander’s 21. Creighton appeared a step quicker than Marquette most of the night, especially in transition, as the Bluejays outscored Marquette on the fast break, 17-5.
While Marquette star Markus Howard finished as one of three MU players with 18 points, he didn’t score his first until there was 3:18 left in the first half and Marquette (10-3, 0-1 BIG EAST) was already down 13, 39-26. Howard also joined Koby McEwen, back from a thumb injury that kept him out of MU’s non-conference finale against Central Arkansas, in committing four turnovers. Marquette as a whole committed 16 compared to nine for the Bluejays, as Marquette generally struggled to keep pace with Creighton’s speed on both ends of the floor. Brendan Bailey and Sacar Anim joined Howard with 18.
Marquette cut Creighton’s 48-38 halftime lead to as little as six after starting the second half on a 6-2 run. However, the Bluejays countered with a 20-6 stretch to eliminate much chance for a Marquette comeback. Foul trouble forced Howard and McEwen off the court during stretches in the first half, which contributed to Marquette’s inability to stop the Bluejays early.
Marquette returns to Fiserv Forum to play Villanova in its home conference opener Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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