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Creighton survives and advances to Big East Tournament final with win over UConn

The Huskies had opportunities late, but just couldn’t cash in. As a result, Creighton is on to the final.

NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Creighton vs Connecticut Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Creighton is on to the Big East Tournament final.

The Bluejays earned their first berth in the final since 2017 with their 59-56 win over UConn. The Huskies tried to reach the tourney final in their first year back but ultimately were dismayed.

James Bouknight attempted to orchestrate a takeover of the game late. Bouk, the conference’s leading scorer, put up five points in less than 20 seconds to prop his Huskies up by five. Creighton refused to let this go by easily, however. They responded with a 9-0 run that vaulted them up by four. UConn would get to within one, but Mitch Ballock made it a three-point game with 20 seconds remaining.

Out of that, UConn would garner opportunities to tie the game. To their credit, all of them were great looks. But unfortunately, the ball just didn’t drop in the net. And in the end, the Bluejays soared to victory and into the tournament final.

Both teams struggled to shoot, as the score would indicate. They each shot under 40 percent from the floor and under 30 percent from 3. UConn shot 78.9 percent at the free throw line, while Creighton went for 57.1 percent on 14 attempts. Their numbers in the second half were unsettling as well, as they each shot under 35 percent from the floor and 3-point land.

Christian Bishop, Damien Jefferson, and Marcus Zegarowski got into double figures Friday night. The trio scored 11, 14, and 13 points respectively, with Jefferson adding 12 rebounds to go for a double-double. Mitch Ballock finished with nine points, just one shy of joining the trio in double figures. No other Jay scored more than four points though, as those above-mentioned players really carried the weight.

UConn also had a trio of double-figure scorers. Bouknight, Adama Sanogo, and Isaiah Whaley put up 14, 13, and 13 points. But that wasn’t nearly enough for the Huskies to get it done. No other Husky who saw the floor scored more than five points, as they were bogged down all night.

Creighton will play 8-seeded Georgetown in the final Saturday night.