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Creighton staves off Villanova for sixth straight win

Trey Alexander scored 27 points and made the big defensive play to help host Creighton hold off Villanova 66-61 on Saturday night in Big East play at Omaha, Neb.

Ryan Kalkbrenner added 16 points and three blocked shots, and Ryan Nembhard had 10 as the Bluejays (15-8, 9-3 Big East) won their sixth consecutive game.

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Eric Dixon recorded 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots for Villanova (10-13, 4-8), which lost its third straight game and eighth of its past 11. Justin Moore scored 13 points and Caleb Daniels had 12.

Creighton was protecting a one-point lead when Daniels was moving into the lane. Alexander reached out and poked the ball away and was eventually fouled and made two free throws to give the Bluejays a 64-61 edge with 12.1 seconds left.

Dixon airballed a 3-point attempt with just under 3 seconds left and Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman made two free throws with 1.4 seconds left to seal it.

The Bluejays shot 37.7 percent from the field, including 7 of 24 from 3-point range. Alexander made 5 of 9 from long range.

The Wildcats hit 38.8 percent of their shots and were 7 of 25 from behind the arc.

Dixon missed two shots on Villanova’s next possession — the first was blocked by Kalkbrenner — and Arthur Kaluma grabbed the rebound and was fouled. But Kaluma missed the front end and the Wildcats took over with Dixon nailing a 3-pointer to give Villanova a 61-60 lead with 34.3 seconds left.

Alexander made two free throws to give Creighton a one-point edge with 26.2 seconds to go before making his big steal.

The Wildcats answered with eight straight points and pulled within two on Dixon’s two free throws with 11:23 left. Alexander converted a three-point play to give the Bluejays a five-point edge before Villanova scored seven more in a row, the last five by Dixon, to take a 51-49 lead with 9:43 left in the contest.

Nembhard’s layup knotted the score at 56 with 5:31 left and Alexander hit a jumper to give the Bluejays a 58-56 lead with 3:43 remaining.

Alexander and Kalkbrenner scored 12 points apiece as Creighton led 35-27 at the break.

–Field Level Media

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