The Bluejays improved to 16-5 on the season with the victory, and stands at 6-3 at the midpoint of BIG EAST play. St. John’s dropped to 10-11 overall and is winless in nine BIG EAST contests.
Both teams struggled offensively out of the gates, with St. John’s missing 11 straight attempts after making its initial try from the field. The Bluejays trailed 9-8 before Thomas heated up, scoring seven straight points for CU to help earn an 18-13 lead and prompt a timeout from Red Storm coach Chris Mullin.
The Bluejay surge continued as the lead grew to 30-18 after consecutive treys by Hegner and Foster. Hegner continued his hot touch with two more trifectas to close CU’s first half scoring and help the Bluejays to a 36-25 lead at the intermission.
Creighton held St. John’s to 28.6 percent shooting in the first half (8-28), and the Bluejays made 12-of-29 field goals (41.4 percent) before the break. CU won the rebound battle 22-16 in the first half, led by six boards each from Foster and Thomas.
Hegner picked up where he left off, opening the second half with a three-pointer just 18 seconds into the second stanza. After four points by St. John’s, Foster drained consecutive three-pointers to extend the lead to 45-29 as St. John’s called its third timeout of the game. The break in the action worked, as the hosts answered with the next eight points over a span of 81 seconds, halving the deficit to 45-37 with 14:40 remaining.
The Red Storm got within seven points on seven different occasions, but each time Creighton would hold off the rally and quiet the crowd until Justin Simon finally cut SJU’s deficit to five with three minutes to go (63-58). But Foster would return the lead to seven with a fadeaway jumper with 1:35 left. Simon split two foul shots on ensuing SJU possession, and Bashir Ahmed’s lay-up with 38.8 left trimmed the CU lead to four (65-61) as the Red Storm burned their final timeout.
Ronnie Harrell Jr. would sink a foul shot with 22.2 left to put CU up by five, but Simon answered with a bucket with 15.3 left. Davion Mintz then iced the game with two key foul shots with 13.1 ticks left to provide the final margin.
Foster led CU with 24 points and a season-best eight rebounds, while Thomas added 19 points and seven rebounds. Hegner finished with 16 points, including four three-pointers. the Jays shot 47.9 percent overall and won the rebound battle, 36-24. Foster is now the first Bluejay since Doug McDermott in 2013-14 with three straight games of 20+ points.
Simon paced St. John’s with 17 points and Tariq Owens added 14 points. SJU shot 41.1 percent for the night, but hit just 5-of-18 three-pointers (27.8 percent).
The Bluejays return home on Saturday night at 7 p.m. when it hosts Georgetown in the program’s annual Creighton vs. Cancer Pink Out.