Ryan Kalkbrenner leads Creighton past Villanova in Big East tourney

Ryan Kalkbrenner scored a game-high 21 points Thursday night for No. 24 Creighton, which never trailed in an 87-74 win over Villanova in a Big East tournament quarterfinal game in New York.

Baylor Scheierman posted a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds) while Arthur Kaluma had 18 points for third seed Creighton (21-11), which will face No. 15 Xavier in the second semifinal Friday night.

Ryan Nembhard (17 points) and Trey Alexander (13 points) also got into double figures for the Blue Jays, who shot 48 percent (12-of-25) from 3-point land after shooting just 19.2 percent (5-of-26) in a 79-67 loss to Villanova on Feb. 25.

Eric Dixon scored 20 points while Brandon Slater and Caleb Daniels had 17 points each and Justin Moore added 13 points for sixth seed Villanova (17-16), whose streak of nine straight NCAA Tournament appearances is all but certain to end.

The Wildcats shot 41.9 percent (26-of-62) from the field after shooting 50 percent (27-of-54) in the win over Creighton on Feb. 25.

A layup by Cam Whitmore pulled Villanova within 7-6 before Creighton scored eight straight points to begin an 11-1 run that extended the lead to 18-7 with 11:30 left in the first half. Alexander hit a trio of 3-pointers during the spurt. The Blue Jays maintained a lead of between five and 12 points the rest of the way before carrying a 32-23 lead into the locker room.

Scheierman converted a 4-point play to start a personal 9-0 run that extended the lead to 46-28 with 14:39 remaining. Creighton opened its biggest lead at 65-45 with 6:37 left before Dixon hit 3-pointers to bookend an 11-0 run for Villanova that cut the deficit to single digits with 4:44 remaining. Kamula then hit a 3-pointer for the Blue Jays.

Villanova got within nine points once more on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Dixon with 3:36 left, but Kalkbrenner answered with his own 3-point play on the next possession and Creighton led by at least 11 the rest of the way.

–Field Level Media

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