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Creighton survives Xavier scare, 66-61

No Adam Kunkel miracle this time around, as the Bluejays held off the feisty Musketeers.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

13th-ranked Creighton topped 22nd-ranked Xavier and ended their undefeated streak to start the season on Wednesday evening. Creighton improved to 7-2 on the year with their 66-61 win, while utilizing their balanced scoring effort that allowed them to defeat UConn last Sunday.

The two respective teams were nearly identical in their statistics from field goal percentage (35.3% for Xavier, 35.5% for Creighton) to total rebounds (44 for Xavier, 48 for Creighton).

Key rebounds by Creighton down the stretch of the second half allowed them to slip away with the victory. In particular, Marcus Zegarowski secured a rebound that led to a subsequent foul, placing him at the line for free throws.

Although the game looked finished with seconds remaining, a sloppy Creighton inbound led to the ball going in the hands of Adam Kunkel. Kunkel, of course, was the hero with his step-back buzzer-beater to win the game for the Musketeers over Marquette last Sunday.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Creighton
Xavier Musketeers guard Adam Kunkel (5) attempts a three point shoot against Creighton Bluejays guard Shereef Mitchell (4)
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Although Kunkel was afforded a less contested shot against Creighton, he didn’t have the “magic” to save them this time around. His missed shot led to a Bluejay rebound and a Xavier foul with just a few ticks left on the clock. This resulted in two more made free throws that iced the game for the Jays.

Xavier will look to rebound against Seton Hall at the Cintas Center on December 30, while Creighton will have to wait until the new year for their next game against Providence in Friartown.