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NCAA Tournament: Fifth-seeded Creighton rolls past No. 13 Ohio

Mar 22, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Creighton Bluejays forward Christian Bishop (13) defends against Ohio Bobcats guard Jason Preston (0) in the second half in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Zegarowski fueled a first-half surge and No. 5 seed Creighton cruised to a 72-58 victory against No. 13 seed Ohio on Monday in an NCAA Tournament West Region second-round game in Indianapolis.

The Bluejays (22-8) advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1974 and will face No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga (28-0) next weekend.

Zegarowski scored 13 of his 20 points in the first half, which Creighton ended on a 20-5 run to turn a 19-19 tie into a 39-24 advantage at the intermission.

Read More: RECAP: No. 5 Creighton escapes in win over No. 12 UC Santa Barbara

Christian Bishop had a double-double for the Bluejays with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Damien Jefferson scored 15 points, Denzel Mahoney added 11 and Mitch Ballock had 10.

Ohio (17-8), which shocked defending national champion Virginia in the first round, missed 10 of its last 11 field-goal attempts in the first half as the Bluejays pulled away.

The Bobcats were held well below their season average of 80.1 per game. Their previous low this season came in Saturday’s 62-58 victory over the fourth-seeded Cavaliers. Leading scorer Jason Preston (16.3 per game) managed just four points on 1-of-10 shooting, with nine rebounds and seven assists.

Ohio shot just 31.8 percent from the field and 23.3 percent (7 of 30) from behind the arc. Dwight Wilson III led the Bobcats with 12 points, surpassing 1,000 points for his career. Lunden McDay added 11 and Ben Roderick had 10.

Creighton’s largest lead was 52-31 on Zegarowski’s 3-pointer with 14:44 left.

Ohio couldn’t get the deficit under double figures until Mark Sears’ free throw made it 65-56 with 2:26 to play.

In 21 previous NCAA Tournament appearances, Creighton had never won consecutive games. The last time it was one of the final 16 teams remaining came in 1974, when the field only included 25 schools.

Read More: RECAP: 13th-seeded Ohio stuns Virginia, 62-58

The Bluejays came out cold, missing their first five shots. They grabbed their first lead at 13-11 on Zegarowski’s 3-pointer with 10:44 remaining. He added two more triples during the 20-5 run.

Creighton shot 50 percent from the field and 45.5 percent (5 of 11) from 3-point range in the opening half, while Ohio shot 31.3 percent overall and 23.1 percent (3 of 11) from deep.

–Field Level Media