MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Alex O’Connell forced double-overtime with a three-pointer at the buzzer and Creighton outscored host Marquette 8-2 in the ensuing five minutes as the visiting Bluejays opened 2022 with a wild 75-69 double-overtime victory on Saturday, Jan.1.
O’Connell’s heroics helped Creighton overcome a five-point deficit in the final 62 seconds of overtime, but didn’t come until after host Marquette had overcome a 17-point deficit early in the second half.
The Bluejays (10-3, 2-0 BIG EAST) have started BIG EAST play 2-0 for the first time since 2013-14, while Marquette fell to 8-6 (0-3 BIG EAST) with its fifth loss in the past six games.
The win improved Creighton to 4-0 all-time at Fiserv Forum, joining the Toronto Raptors as the lone NBA or NCAA teams to beat the hosts four times in the facility. It was also the 14th time in the last 15 meetings that the teams played a game decided by eight points or less.
After Ryan Kalkbrenner scored the final three points of the first half to put CU up 30-24 at the break, Creighton blitzed the Fiserv Forum nets with an 11-0 run to open the second half, featuring three consecutive three-pointers from the right corner. Ryan Hawkins sandwiched a pair of makes around an O’Connell trey, followed by a Kalkbrenner hook shot, as the Bluejays built a 41-24 lead with 17:49 to go.
The Golden Eagles would rally with a 20-7 run to close within 48-44 with eight minutes remaining, but the Bluejays regained their composure with a Kalkbrenner post move and deep Hawkins trey to push the lead back to 53-44. Just as quickly MU answered. Back-to-back buckets by Oso Ighodaro followed by a fadeaway jumper from Tyler Kolek brought the Golden Eagles within three with four minutes to go. MU cut it to one with 2:10 left on a hoop from Darryl Morsell.
A Hawkins free throw with 1:56 remaining put CU back up by two and Marquette had a chance for the lead with 1:40 left, but Olivier-Maxence Prosper missed a corner three-pointer. Ighodaro tied it with 1:29 left on a lay-up off a feed from Kolek. The Jays retook the lead on a stepback jumper by Ryan Nembhard with 56.4 remaining. Ighodaro tied it on a dunk with 40.7 left and the Bluejays would turn it over with 20.5 left, giving MU a chance with the shot clock off. The Bluejays committed three fouls that they had to give, leaving MU with just 6.8 left. The Golden Eagles would find Justin Lewis, who missed a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
Marquette took its first lead since the opening minutes on a Kolek triple from the left corner, then go up by five on a Morsell pull-up jumper. CU made its comeback at the line, as Nembhard (1:02) and O’Connell (20.6) each drained clutch free throws to trim MU’s lead to 65-64 with 20.6 left in OT. Kolek used all of the rim to sink a pair of foul shots with 11.8 left. MU would knock the ball out of bounds with 3.3 left to give CU one last opportunity. Hawkins would inbound it to O’Connell, who took two dribbles and canned a game-tying trey to send it to double-overtime.
In double-OT Marquette scored first, only to have Kalkbrenner throw down a dunk to tie it and initiate a game-ending 8-0 Bluejay run. The Jays went up 72-69 on a three-ball from Ryan Hawkins with 1:55 left, took a five-point edge on a score from Rati Andronikashvili with 16.4 left and iced the game with an O’Connell free throw with 8.9 left.
Despite playing its first game in 15 days, Creighton showed no signs of rust while quickly taking a 17-7 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Bluejays fought through nine turnovers in the opening 20 minutes to build a 30-24 lead at the break, paced by 10 points from Kalkbrenner and five each from Arthur Kaluma, Hawkins, Nembhard and O’Connell.
The Golden Eagles were paced by a career-high 22 points from Ighodaro, while Justin Lewis contributed nine points and 12 rebounds despite 4-for-18 shooting from the field.
Kalkbrenner’s 20 points and 12 rebounds were each career highs as the 7-footer collected his first career double-double. He also added four blocked shots. Hawkins had 18 points and 12 rebounds for his 34th career double-dip. O’Connell finished with 17 points and Nembhard added 11 points. the Bluejays made a season-high 11 three-pointers and won the rebound battle 54-44.
Creighton returns to the court on Wednesday when it visits No. 22 Villanova for a 7:30 p.m. Central game that will be nationally televised on FS1.