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Early burst carries Creighton past No. 24 BYU

Sportsnaut
Dec 11, 2021; Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA;  Brigham Young Cougars guard Spencer Johnson (20) attempts a shot against Creighton Bluejays center Ryan Kalkbrenner (11) in the first half at Sanford Pentagon. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2021; Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA; Brigham Young Cougars guard Spencer Johnson (20) attempts a shot against Creighton Bluejays center Ryan Kalkbrenner (11) in the first half at Sanford Pentagon. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Hawkins scored 19 of his season-high 25 points in the first half to lead Creighton to an 83-71 win over No. 24 BYU in a nonconference neutral-site game Saturday at Sioux Falls, S.D.

Hawkins’ scoring output in the first half helped Creighton (7-3) build a 20-point lead 16 minutes into the game at 44-24.

BYU took advantage of Creighton failing to make a field goal for more than three minutes to cut its deficit to 63-53 with 8:06 left. The Bluejays answered with a 7-1 run, capped by a dunk in transition by Hawkins, to pull out to a 70-54 lead with 5:25 left.

Alex Barcello led BYU (8-2) with 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field and 5 of 7 from 3-point range with four assists. Seneca Knight added 13 points for the Cougars.

Ryan Nembhard had 17 points for Creighton before fouling out and Alex O’Connell added 15 points. Ryan Kalkbrenner finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for the Bluejays, while Hawkins added eight rebounds.

Creighton trailed 2-0 after the first shot in the game but rallied to take a 10-2 lead and never trailed thereafter.

The Bluejays went on a 12-0 run to build a 36-19 lead with 6:03 left in the first half. Nembhard had five points and Kalkbrenner had four in that stretch.

Eight straight points scored by Hawkins, including two 3-pointers, gave Creighton a 44-24 lead with 4:03 left before halftime.

BYU, which shot 34.3 percent from the field in the first half and had eight turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, trailed 48-30 at halftime.

The Cougars committed 15 turnovers that led to 17 points for Creighton, while the Bluejays had only nine turnovers.

BYU failed to take advantage of a 42-36 rebounding edge as Creighton outscored the Cougars 36-28 in the paint.

Creighton’s 57.1-percent field-goal shooting in the first half was enough to make up for a 28-percent shooting performance in the second half. The Bluejays shot 45.0 percent for the game.

–Field Level Media