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Ryan Kalkbrenner, No. 9 Creighton overpower North Dakota

Sportsnaut
Nov 10, 2022; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Creighton Bluejays center Ryan Kalkbrenner (11) dunks against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks during the first half at CHI Health Center Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Kalkbrenner collected a career-high 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds to help No. 9 Creighton coast to a 96-61 victory over North Dakota on Thursday in Omaha, Neb.

Kalkbrenner, the reigning Big East Defensive Player of the Year, made 10 of 11 shots from the floor and all four attempts from the free-throw line. His point total on Thursday eclipsed his previous high of 22, achieved on two occasions in 2021-22.

Creighton’s Trey Alexander sank four 3-pointers to highlight his 14-point performance. Arthur Kaluma had 12 points, Ryan Nembhard contributed nine points and Baylor Scheierman had eight points and 10 rebounds for the Bluejays, who ignited a 29-3 run en route to claiming a 53-22 lead at halftime.

Creighton shot a robust 58.3 percent from the floor in the first half. The Bluejays finished at 51.4 percent for the game, including 44.4 percent from 3-point range (12 of 27).

The Bluejays held a decisive 49-20 edge in rebounds, including a 21-2 advantage on the offensive end.

Creighton improved to 2-0 for the 12th time in 13 seasons under head coach Greg McDermott. The Bluejays looked like an entirely different team after requiring a late 14-0 surge to post a 72-60 victory over St. Thomas-Minnesota on Monday.

The Bluejays answered an early 8-5 deficit with their 29-3 run, highlighted by Kalkbrenner exploiting the interior with layups and alley-oop dunks. Scheierman, Francisco Farabello, Alexander and Mason Miller each made a 3-pointer during the surge.

Kalkbrenner converted an alley-oop in transition from Nembhard to give Creighton a 42-17 lead with 5:37 remaining in the first half. He added two more dunks and Farabello made a layup to cap the scoring over the first 20 minutes for the Bluejays.

Tsotne Tsartsidze sank three 3-pointers and a pair of free throws to score North Dakota’s first 11 points in the second half. Tsartsidze converted again from beyond the arc and finished with 16 points for the Fighting Hawks (1-1).

–Field Level Media