John Peterson/Associated Press
No. 5 Villanova suffered just its third loss of the year Saturday but by far its worst of the season.
The No. 19 Creighton Bluejays took down the Wildcats, 86-70, at CHI Health Center as the high-scoring Nova offense struggled to defend in the second half. The Wildcats’ biggest defeat this year before Saturday came in a 70-59 loss to St. John’s on Feb. 3.
Creighton shot 59.3 percent from the field in the win as Marcus Zegarowski poured in a game-high 25 points.
A 15-6 run by the Bluejays early in the second half proved too much for head coach Jay Wright’s team to overcome—especially as the Wildcats continued to brick three-pointer after three-pointer.
Villanova had averaged 38.7 percent from behind the arc but connected on just 10 of 32 attempts against Creighton. As the Wildcats attempted to quickly shoot themselves back into the game, Creighton was able to take its time on offense and find solid looks for its starters.
The Jays received eight points from their bench while every starter except Denzel Mahoney (seven points) finished in double figures. Christian Bishop proved the most efficient Creighton shooter, going 6-of-7 from the field for 16 points and nine rebounds.
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The win is unquestionably the best on the Bluejays’ resume this year and comes hours after the March Madness selection committee announced Villanova as a preliminary No. 2 seed for the NCAA tournament. That’s now likely to change.
Creighton still has to travel to play at Villanova on March 3 for their penultimate contest of the regular season. That game now carries extra weight as the two Big East rivals look to establish themselves ahead of Selection Sunday.