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No Nembhard, No Problem: Creighton defeats Marquette 74-63 in the quarterfinals

The Golden Eagles’ comeback bid is not enough, as the Bluejays advance to the semifinals

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

After a low scoring game 1 of the Big East tournament quarterfinals, game 2 opened up with 3-point shots traded between O-Max Prosper and Arthur Kaluma.

At the first media timeout, this once again had signs of a much higher scoring affair. Creighton would take the game’s first two possession lead with 13:13 left in the first half after a half court lob from Trey Alexander to Arthur Kaluma.

The Bluejays came into this game with a 2-0 record over Marquette by a combined score of 7 points, so this game was set up to be close from the get go.

With the score being 14-7, Creighton had a chance to pull away and put the Golden Eagles in an early hole, but sophomore Tyler Kolek had other plans. A nice 3 from the wing cut Marquette’s deficit to only 4 points. This seemed like an early momentum turning point.

This thought did not come to fruition. Marquette did not give up another mini run, but it could not put a run of its own together. With 7:46 to play in the first half, the Golden Eagles trailed 18-12. Creighton’s early scoring effort was fueled by freshman Arthur Kaluma who had half of the Bluejays’ first 18 points.

Throughout the next 3 minutes, Marquette steadily cut down the Bluejays’ lead. With 4:50 remaining in the first half, a Kam Jones floater evened the game at 21. The freshman from Cordova, TN had a couple big buckets to keep the Golden Eagles within striking distance.

Although Creighton got out to another 6 point lead, it continuously gave Marquette opportunities to get back into the game. In the closing minutes of the first half, the Golden Eagles finally took advantage. As the first 20 minutes expired, Creighton had a slight 29-26 lead.

The Bluejays were the aggressor to open up the second half. Led by 4 points from Ryan Kalkbrenner, Creighton started the half on a 8-3 run. Although there was some back and forth, 2 Ryan Hawkins 3s expanded the Bluejays’ lead to 42-34.

The lead continued to grow for Creighton as the game reached the second half u12 mark. With 11:24 left to play, the Bluejays had amassed its largest lead of the game up to that point, 13 points, after a Keyshawn Feazell and-one.

Of course no Big East game occurs without a valiant comeback. That trend was no different in this contest. After Creighton reached its highest lead, it only took the Golden Eagles 1:16 to go on a 7-0 run and cut the score to 51-45, 4 of those 7 points coming from Maryland transfer Darryl Morsell.

As the end grew closer and closer, the Garden began to feel another spectacular finish primed to take place. Well... that did not happen.

The Bluejays responded with a 9-3 run of their own to completely open up the game. With only 6:23 to play, Creighton had a commanding 60-48 lead on the Golden Eagles.

Or was it commanding? Remember the statement that a spectacular finish did not take place? I was wrong.

In a game of runs, Marquette had the most important one, led by 10 points from Darryl Morsell. At the u4 media timeout, a 13-6 Golden Eagles run chopped its deficit in more than half. With 3:19 remaining, Marquette only trailed by 5. With 3:04 remaining, Marquette only trailed by 2.

After some more back and forth, Marquette finally broke. Back to back layups from Arthur Kaluma and Alex O’Connell reopened a 7 point lead. This lead would never be given up.

As the buzzer sounded, Creighton fans did as well. The score finished 74-63 in favor of the Bluejays.

Both Ryans came up huge for Creighton. Hawkins had a game high 18 points and Kalkbrenner tacked on another 14.

In a losing effort, Darryl Morsell gave it his all, scoring a team high 18 points.

The first semifinals match has now been set for Friday. (5) Creighton vs. (1) Providence at 4:30pm ET. Buckle up!