Ballock, Alexander lead Creighton past Xavier 77-65

Creighton center Kelvin Jones (43) rises for a shot over Xavier forward Tyrique Jones (4) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Cincinnati.

CINCINNATI (AP) — Mitch Ballock scored 19 points and went 5 of 9 from 3-point range, and Ty-Shon Alexander added 18 points lifting Creighton to a 77-65 victory over Xavier at Cintas Center on Saturday, giving Bluejays head coach Greg McDermott his 500th career victory as a head coach.

Creighton (13-4, 2-2 Big East), which made only three 3-point shots in Tuesday's loss to Villanova, its fewest since 2017, hit 9 of 23 attempts on Saturday.

Naji Marshall led Xavier with 21 points and Paul Scruggs scored 19 as the Musketeers suffered their second straight Big East loss at home.

The Bluejays became only the second team to beat Xavier four times in Cintas Center, joining Villanova. Creighton is one of only nine teams to beat the Musketeers multiple times there.

Both teams started cold from the perimeter. Xavier made just one of its first 15 3-point attempts and finished the first half 2 of 17. Creighton made 4 of 12 attempts in the first half, three by Ballock.

The Bluejays extended their five-point halftime lead to 11 points with 16:26 left. Xavier (12-5, 1-3) cut the deficit to three points on Marshall's 3-pointer with 8:20 remaining, but poor perimeter shooting prevented a Musketeers comeback. Xavier shot 5 of 26 from behind the arc (19%).

Creighton's leading scorer Marcus Zegarowski, who came in averaging 17.4 points per game, third best in the Big East, was held in check for the most part with 11 points.

The Musketeers simply had trouble handling Ballock. His fifth 3-pointer put Creighton ahead 65-53 with two minutes left.

BIG PICTURE

With the win, McDermott became the 27th active Division I head coach to have 500 or more victories. He has won 50 or more games at four different schools. He owns a .619 winning percentage in his 26 seasons and 808 games as a head coach.

UP NEXT:

Creighton: The Bluejays play at Georgetown on Wednesday.

Xavier: The Musketeers play at Marquette on Wednesday.

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