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Creighton basketball: Bluejays use defense to hold on against Kennesaw State

The Bluejays clung on to victory on Thursday night.

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

Though the shots were not falling for the Jays, Creighton was able to hold Kennesaw State to 26.2 percent from the field to win at home, 51-44.

Where the Arkansas-Pine Bluff game had its moment, with flashy Alex O’Connell and Arthur Kaluma dunks, this game seemingly had much less fanfare and much more muck. This game was ugly from the tip until the closing horn, evidenced by the final score, and was not how the Bluejays necessarily wanted to play this game

Creighton’s whole motto is “Let It Fly”. That is a big selling point in Omaha. Creighton's first three was at the 9:44 minute mark, drained by Alex O’Connell. That was it. For a team that plays fast, shoots from deep, and focuses on spacing, the Jays were less than stellar from three, but they seemingly knew that, as their three-point attempts dropped from thirteen in the first half to just six in the second.

Kennesaw State was not able to capitalize on the shooting woes of Creighton well; the Owls shot just 3-19 from deep, failing to make a three in the second half along with the Bluejays. The Owls did keep it close, staying within striking distance well into the second half. The game was within one possession into the final two minutes, but a Ryan Hawkins two and foul shots from Ryan Nembhard kept the away team at bay.

Creighton was led again by O’Connell, Nembhard, and Ryan Kalkbrenner with 13, 11, and 10, respectively. Kennesaw State was led by Demond Robinson and Spencer Rodgers with 11 and 9.

You can next see the Jays play on Tuesday, November 16th at 7 p.m. ET against in-state rival Nebraska in Lincoln. The series, currently standing in Creighton’s favor, 28 wins to 26, will be a test for the Jays, who have just a handful of players who (given the COVID year) have played in a full, hostile environment.