Creighton used balanced scoring to fend off a Memphis challenge in the second half and pull away for a 79-67 victory in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament on Friday night in Omaha, Neb.

The win gave second-seeded Creighton (20-14), which opened the tournament with a home win over Loyola-Chicago, its fourth consecutive 20-win season and its 19th in the last 21 years.

It sends the Bluejays into the tournament quarterfinals next week against either Texas Christian or Nebraska, who play Sunday.

The loss, meanwhile, ended the season for third-seeded Memphis (22-14), which had arrived in the second round via a home win over San Diego.

Creighton appeared to be well on its way to a comfortable win after using an 18-3 run at the end of the first half to turn a 27-22 deficit into a 40-30 lead. Marcus Zegarowski (eight) and Martin Krampelj (six) accounted for 14 of the Bluejays' 18 points during the stretch.

Memphis fell 17 points behind at 52-35 after a pair of free throws by Creighton's Davion Mintz at the 16:06 mark of the second half.

But the Tigers clawed almost all the way back, using a three-point play from Jeremiah Martin as a springboard and a Martin layup as the finishing touches on a 17-2 burst that got them within 54-52 with still 11:28 to play.

But Creighton stopped the rally at that point, gradually pulling away, as Christian Bishop provided three key hoops and fellow reserve Connor Cashaw had two.

The Bluejays placed five players in double figures, with Zegarowski and Mitch Ballock leading the way with 14 apiece. Krampelj and Mintz added 12 each, while Ty-Shon Alexander chipped in with 11. Zegarowski also had a game-high eight assists.

Bishop finished with eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds for Creighton, which won for the seventh time in its last eight games.

Martin totaled 20 points to lead all scorers for Memphis, which entered the game having won seven of nine. He also found time for a team-best four assists.

Tyler Harris added 11 points and Alex Lomax 10 points for the Tigers, who were outshot 50.8 percent to 44.3.

--Field Level Media

 

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