NOVA’S LOST NIGHT IN NEBRASKA: PUMMELED 86-70 BY CREIGHTON!

By Teddy Brenner

Marcus Zegarowski had a season-high 25 points and Mitch Ballock 17 of his 20 points in the second half as 19th-ranked Creighton routed visiting No. 5 Villanova 86-70.

Creighton (16-5, 12-4 Big East) won for the sixth time in seven games and knocked off a top-five opponent for the first time since beating Villanova in February 2018.

The Wildcats (13-3, 8-2) sustained their most lopsided loss since a 25-point defeat to Ohio State in November 2019.

Zegarowski bested Collin Gillespie in the highly anticipated matchup of two of the nation’s top point guards. Gillespie had eight points on 3-for-12 shooting overall and 2 of 8 on 3s.

Zegarowski, the Big East preseason player of the year, had struggled with his shot the previous three games. He made three 3s in the first half, including one that gave Creighton the lead for good. He also accounted for the prettiest play of the game when he drove baseline on Gillespie for a reverse layup.

Early in the second half, Zegarowski made a move to get Gillespie to go the other way, then swished a one-handed floater in the lane.

Christian Bishop, the Bluejays’ 6-foot-7 center, made six of seven shots and scored 16 points, and converted two lobs from Zegarowski and one from Denzel Mahoney into first-half dunks.

Villanova came to Omaha off its best offensive game, scoring a season-high 96 points in a blowout of Marquette. The Wildcats had shot 70% in the second half of that game and a season-best 63% overall.

The Wildcats weren’t nearly as good at CHI Health Center, shooting 33% in the second half and 37.5% for the game.

Justin Moore had 21 points and Jermaine Samuels added 16 for Villanova.

Jermaine Robinson-Earl, who came in shooting 56% and averaging just under 20 points over his previous four games, was 3 of 13 and had eight points.

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