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Creighton rallies for first round victory over San Diego State

The Bluejays survive and advance.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Creighton vs San Diego State Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Creighton Bluejays are headed to the round of 32 following a 72-69 overtime victory over the San Diego State Aztecs Thursday night.

Despite falling behind by as many as 14 points in the first half, the Bluejays began chipping away right away and headed into the locker room down by just seven, 37-30. Creighton was anchored by Ryan Kalkbrenner and Ryan Hawkins, as the duo combined for 18 of Creighton’s 30 first half points.

Even as the second half got underway, though, Creighton just couldn’t seem to get it together, remaining down by 5-8 points most of the half. With 2:28 to play, Alex O’Connell hit a pair of free throws to put Creighton within seven, 62-55. After a stop, O’Connell hit a three to make it 62-58. Then Ryan Kalkbrenner hit a layup and Trey Alexander hit a layup of his own to tie it up at 62 and inexplicably send the game to overtime.

Disaster struck early in overtime for Creighton, as Kalkbrenner went down holding his knee. Greg McDermott would tweet Friday that the big man would miss the rest of the tournament.

Despite the loss of Kalkbrenner, Creighton managed to find a way to claw out a victory, as Alexander recorded seven of Creighton’s 10 points in overtime to lead the Jays to a 72-69 win.

Chad Baker-Mazara led SDSU with 18 points.

Creighton will face #1 Kansas on Saturday afternoon.