Martin Krampelj scored 17 points and hit four of Creighton's nine 3-pointers Tuesday night as the Bluejays dumped Loyola (Ill.) 70-61 in the first round of the NIT at Omaha, Neb.
Marcus Zegarowski hit for 12 while Davion Mintz contributed 11 points. Ty-Shon Alexander and Mitch Ballock added 10 each for Creighton (19-14), which will host Memphis in the second round. The Tigers scored a 74-60 win over San Diego on Tuesday night.
Aher Uguak scored a game-high 18 points for the Ramblers (20-14) and Cameron Krutwig added 17, combining to make 17 of 25 shots from the field. But their teammates could only manage to hit 9 of 30, with Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year Marques Townes suffering through a miserable 1 of 8, four-point performance.
Loyola certainly tried to reprise some of the magic from its run to the Final Four last March, slicing a 12-point deficit with less than three minutes remaining in half. Clayton Custer made a foul shot with 59 seconds left to make it a 63-57 game.
But Alexander took advantage of the pressing Ramblers' defense for a layup that upped the margin to eight. Loyola simply couldn't muster up the firepower to overcome that deficit.
Loyola's only lead came 24 seconds into the game as Custer stroked a 3-pointer. Creighton responded with an 8-2 burst, grabbing the lead when Krampelj canned a 3-ball just over four minutes into the game.
Ahead 12-11 after Krutwig connected on a layup at the 13:10 mark of the half, the Bluejays rattled off 10 straight points. Alexander capped the three-minute burst by sinking a 3-pointer to give them a 22-11 advantage.
The Ramblers stormed back with 11 straight points, evening the score at 22 on Bruno Skokna's three with 7:18 on the clock. But Creighton regained control down the stretch, earning a 36-31 edge at the half as Zegarowski drilled a pair of threes in the final 3 1/2 minutes.
--Field Level Media