On Tuesday, February 8th, it was Ryan Nembhard of the Creighton Bluejays who sank the go-ahead layup to defeat the Butler Bulldogs, 54-52. While Butler had opportunities with the remaining 32 seconds left, the miss by Jayden Taylor with 11 seconds left (which led to one free throw by Nembhard) and the turnover by Aaron Thompson with 2 seconds left made sure that the door was sealed for a Creighton victory.
If you are Butler, you take this game and look at some of the successes that kept you in the game for so long. Butler kept the game within reach by defense, not allowing a Creighton made field goal for around 9 minutes late in the game. While there were free throws, Butler had gone from down 8 (48-40 CU) to up one (52-51 BU) with just a minute left. The Bulldogs also held the big man Ryan Kalkbrenner to just a single point, something no one this season had been able to do until now. The recipe for success was there, but Ryan Nembhard had other plans.
If you are Creighton, you (much like Butler) try to learn from your accomplishments defensively and ignore the offensive slump. Creighton held Butler to 19 made field goals and 4 made threes, but the exact same can be said for what Butler did to Creighton. Ryan Kalkbrenner had an off-night, which happens, but players like Arthur Kaluma exceeded what his average was coming into the game to surprise CU. You had enough to keep you afloat, which given the last result against Butler, is a welcome success.
Butler was led in points by Jayden Taylor off the bench with 13, followed by starter Bo Hodges with 10. No other Bulldog had more than 9 points. Creighton was led in scoring by Arthur Kaluma with 16 (even after tweaking his knee and having to sit an extended period of time), as well as Ryan Hawkins with 15. No other Bluejay had more than 8.
Creighton will advance to 14-8 (6-5) on the season, going into a tie for fifth place with Xavier (who own the season sweep over Creighton). Butler, dropping to 11-13 (4-9), is firmly in ninth place, with a considerably difficult schedule moving forward. Creighton will next play two games against Georgetown, while Butler will play in Hinkle against Marquette on Saturday, February 12th.