OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Marcus Zegarowski made all five of his 3-pointers and finished with 23 points to lead No. 11 Creighton to a share of the Big East Conference regular-season title with a 77-60 victory over No. 8 Seton Hall on Saturday.
The Bluejays (24-7, 13-5) claimed all or part of their first conference title since winning the Missouri Valley outright in 2012-13. They joined the Big East the next season.
Creighton has won 11 of its last 13 games and, because it swept the season series against the Pirates, will be the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament in New York next week.
The Bluejays finished the game on a 21-6 run, with the sellout crowd of more than 18,000 at CHI Health Center growing louder as the clock wound down. Students stormed the court after the final buzzer, and a Big East banner was unfurled from the rafters moments later.
Seton Hall (21-9, 13-5) lost its last two games and will be the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament. Villanova also won a share of the regular-season title and is the No. 2 seed.
Denzel Mahoney came off the bench to score 16 points for the Bluejays, and Ty-Shon Alexander had 15 points along with playing a superb defensive game against Seton Hall star Myles Powell.
Powell and Quincy McKnight each scored 15 points for the Pirates and Jared Rhoden added 12.
Seton Hall controlled the pace of the game against the Big East's highest-scoring team, but the Bluejays were able to pull away late.
Billed by local media as the biggest home game in Creighton program history, fans showed up early and the student section was vocal, chanting “Let's Go Jays” as the Bluejays ran onto the court before pregame introductions.
Alexander got the crowd on its feet right away, stealing the ball from Powell on the opening possession and converting a fast-break pass from Damien Jefferson into an easy layin. Then, after Powell appeared to shed Alexander on a ball screen, Alexander caught him from behind to block his layup try.
The half ended tied 32-all, and it was close until the Bluejays began taking control midway through the second half. Zegarowski drove the length of the court and snaked his way through the lane for a finger-roll layin to break a 50-50 tie, and the Bluejays never surrendered the lead.
Tension spilled over late when Jefferson and Sandro Mamukelashvili were chest to chest in the final 2 minutes. Mamukelashvili tried to shove Jefferson, Creighton coach Greg McDermott sprinted across the bench to calm matters and the players were given double technicals.
Seton Hall: The Pirates lost back-to-back games for only the second time this season, and Powell, averaging 27 points in road games, was never able to take control offensively.
Creighton: The Bluejays ride momentum into the conference tournament after finishing 17-1 at home and improving to 7-2 against Top 25 opponents.
Seton Hall plays in the Big East Tournament on Thursday.
Creighton plays in the Big East Tournament on Thursday.
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