No. 15 Xavier dominates No. 24 Creighton to advance to Big East title game

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Souley Boum scored 23 points and added five rebounds and six assists Friday night for No. 15 Xavier, which advanced to the Big East tournament championship game with an 82-60 win over No. 24 Creighton in New York.

Xavier, the second seed, advanced to face top-seeded Marquette in Saturday’s championship game. The No. 6 Golden Eagles edged No. 11 Connecticut, 70-68, in Friday’s first semifinal.

The championship game appearance is the first for Marquette and the second for Xavier, which fell to Villanova, 69-52, in 2015. A first-time champion hasn’t won the Big East since West Virginia did so in 2010.

Colby Jones (14 points, 10 rebounds) had a double-double Friday night for Xavier (25-8), which has won five straight. Jack Nunge had 17 points and seven rebounds while Desmond Claude scored 11 points off the bench for the Musketeers.

Xavier held Creighton to 37.5 percent shooting (21 of 56).

Ryan Kalkbrenner scored 18 points while Baylor Scheierman had 15 points for Creighton (21-12), which fell in each of the last two Big East tournament championship games. Trey Alexander added 12 points for the Blue Jays.

The shooting effort was the second worst in a Big East game this season for Creighton, which shot 32.8 percent (20 of 61) against Connecticut on Jan. 7.

Creighton scored the first five points before Xavier took the lead for good with an 11-4 run capped by a layup by Adam Kunkel with 15:22 left. The Musketeers took their first double-digit lead at 31-17 following a 14-1 run in which Boum scored eight points. The Blue Jays were 0-for-4 from the field with six turnovers in that stretch.

Creighton got within single digits once more on a 3-pointer by Alexander with 4:00 left. Xavier led 40-26 at the half and led by at least 13 points throughout the second half. The final margin marked the largest advantage for the Musketeers.

–Field Level Media

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