AUSTIN, Texas — No. 2 Texas used a 10-0 run midway through the second half to earn a 72-67 win over No. 7 Creighton in the Big 12 – BIG EAST Battle on Thursday at a sold out Moody Center in Austin, Texas. Despite starting the night 1-for-22 from three-point range, CU still gave the unbeaten Longhorns their toughest test to date thanks to a late barrage of three-pointers in the closing minutes.
Texas improved to 6-0 with the win while Creighton dropped to 6-2 with its second consecutive setback to an unbeaten top-15 squad.
Ryan Kalkbrenner made his first nine shots from the field and scored a team-high 20 points for the Bluejays, while Ryan Nembhard (17) and Arthur Kaluma (13) also scored in double-figures. Kalkbrenner added a season-high 13 rebounds and Baylor Scheierman had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The top-10 battle had plenty of offensive fireworks early, as Texas held a 14-13 lead after a frantic first six minutes that featured five lead changes and four ties. A nearly five-minute scoring drought saw the Bluejays fall behind 22-17 before scoring three times in 63 seconds to retake a 25-24 lead, but CU would not lead again. Texas would close the first half on an 8-2 run to take a 32-27 lead into the halftime intermission.
The Bluejays were led by 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting by Kalkbrenner and nine rebounds by Scheierman, while Tyrese Hunter paced UT with nine points before the break. The Bluejays shot just 1-for-12 from downtown before the break.
The Bluejays started strong to open the second half, closing within one at 37-36 after a pair of Trey Alexander free throws and missed a pair of field goal attempts to took the lead. That proved costly, as Si’Jabari Rice and Marcus Carr answered with three-pointers before a Christian Bishop hook shot gave the Horns their biggest lead of the night at 45-36 with 13:46 left.
The Jays never gave up, getting dunks from Kalkbrenner and Kaluma and a Nembhard scoop shot to get within six (60-54) with five minutes to play. Scheierman drained a deep triple to bring CU within five with 3:33 remaining and a fadeway jumper to beat the shot clock with 2:34 left to bring CU within three. The Jays got the ball back but would not score and could not get any closer as the Horns scored on their next two trips. A deep trey from Scheierman made it 66-62 with 21.2 left. The Longhorns threw it deep for a dunk Tyrese Hunter with 18.9 left, only to see Scheierman’s third trey of the final four minutes make it a three-point contest.
Marcus Carr sank an important free throw with 10.2 left to push the UT lead to 70-65, but another Nembhard lay-in made it a three-point game once again. UT’s Brook Cunningham would be fouled with 4.0 left
Carr led Texas with 19 points. Former Creighton center Christian Bishop finished with six points and four rebounds in his first game against his former school. The Longhorns outscored CU 20-5 in fast break points and had just three turnovers in the contest.
The Bluejays finished the game 4-for-27 from three-point land after its 1-for-22 start. CU won the rebound battle 44-41
Creighton returns to the court on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. when it hosts Nebraska.