Creighton Bluejays vs. Xavier Musketeers Pick & Prediction JANUARY 23rd 2024

After delivering a game in which it refused to lose, No. 17 Creighton will have a spring in its step when it returns home to face Xavier on Tuesday night in Omaha, Neb.

The Bluejays (14-5, 5-3 Big East) barely avoided a disastrous week when they dispatched Seton Hall 97-94 on the road Saturday; however, they needed three overtimes to do it. Creighton fell on the road to No. 1 UConn 62-48 on Wednesday.

Creighton’s Big Three led the way again against Seton Hall. Ryan Kalkbrenner recorded 28 points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots, Trey Alexander had 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Baylor Scheierman had 20 points with 10 rebounds and six assists.

Steven Ashworth’s layup with three seconds remaining in regulation forced the first overtime. Scheierman missed a 3-pointer that would have won the game in the first OT, Alexander missed a jumper that would have won the second, and Creighton overcame a five-point deficit in the third extra period.

It was the second triple-overtime game in Creighton history and the first it has won.

“This could be the start of something special,” Alexander said. “I think we showed a lot of grit and grind. I think we showed we can play very tough. Those guys watched the UConn film a little bit and how they punked us out in the last game a little bit, and we showed we can grind games out and be a tough team.”

Creighton has won five of its last six games, with the first of three consecutive home games coming Tuesday.

“We have a very good Xavier team on Tuesday night, so we need that place rocking,” Bluejays coach Greg McDermott said.

Xavier (10-8, 4-3) is on a three-game winning streak after pulling out a 92-91 victory at home Friday over Georgetown. Dailyn Swain’s dunk with 30 seconds remaining was the difference for the Musketeers.

Quincy Olivari had 27 points and six rebounds for Xavier, which improved to 8-4 at home but now will hit the road, where it is 1-3 in true road games and 1-1 at neutral sites. It was Olivari’s seventh game this season of at least 20 points as he went 5 of 10 from 3-point range.

Desmond Claude had 19 points and a career-high nine assists, while Dayvion McKnight had 18 points with five assists. The Musketeers were 32 of 64 from the field to shoot 50 percent or better for the sixth time this season. Their 32 made baskets came on 27 assists.

“We were fortunate to win. I think that’s obvious,” Xavier coach Sean Miller said after Georgetown made eight 3-pointers in the first half and shot 48.8 percent from distance in the game. “But I will also tell you there were a couple of games earlier in the year that we could have won and didn’t. It’s funny how that plays itself out over the long year. Tonight, we got one back.”

Olivari leads Xavier with an average of 18.1 points per game, while Claude averages 16.0 points. Abou Ousmane leads the team with 6.9 rebounds.

Scheierman leads Creighton with 17.8 points and 8.3 rebounds, while Kalkbrenner scores 16.3 points with 7.5 rebounds. Alexander averages 16.1 points per game, with 6.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists.

–Field Level Media

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