On Thursday, February 17th, the Creighton Bluejays stole a game on the road against the DePaul Blue Demons, 71-59. It was once again, for Creighton, the Ryan Hawkins show: 25 points on 17 shots, 11 rebounds, 3 assists. It was a good sign for Creighton to get Ryan Hawkins going, as the Bluejay forward is averaging 5.8 PPG in his team’s five conference losses compared to 18.7 PPG in his conference wins. This is a massive boost for Creighton to get him going, and it paid off here.
Neither team was very deep this go around, and with the loss of David Jones just a few minutes into the game with an ankle injury, there would be an even shorter bench for Tony Stubblefield’s team. Even with Jones out, DePaul had enough serviceable players to mount a good fight against the Jays. Jalen Terry had 18 on 11 shots, Javon Freeman-Liberty had 18 on 22 shots, and Courvoisier McCauley had 12 in the absence of David Jones.
Still, Creighton’s defense pestered DePaul just enough to keep them at bay for a large portion of the game. The turning point for Creighton to gain this advantage was, in reality, the Javon Freeman-Liberty highlight dunk over Ryan Kalkbrenner. This massive dunk led to a taunting technical, and shortly after, Freeman-Liberty was tallied for his second foul on a reach-in. DePaul had a lead of 20-13 at the time of the foul, and by the time he reentered the game for a substantial amount of time, Creighton was up 33-31 after the first half. This 9-point swing for Creighton over 10-12 minutes gave the Bluejays the momentum they needed to control the game in the second half, and with Freeman-Liberty going 4-22 in the game, DePaul did not have a good answer for Creighton’s good half-court defense.
Creighton was led by 25 from Ryan Hawkins, 19 from Ryan Nembhard, and 12 from Ryan Kalkbrenner. All started and played a combined 115 minutes. DePaul was led by 18 from Jalen Terry and Javon Freeman-Liberty each, as well as 12 from Courvoisier McCauley off the bench. Creighton will advance to 17-8 (9-5) in their fourth consecutive win, while DePaul drops to 12-13 (3-12). DePaul will play next on Saturday, February 19th, in Newark against Seton Hall. Creighton will play next on Sunday, February 20th, against Marquette in Omaha.