OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Creighton played one of its worst offensive games of the season against St. John's but still was tough enough to protect its home court against one of the Big East's surprise teams.

Trey Alexander made the go-ahead free throws with 12.3 seconds left, and the No. 22 Bluejays ended St. John’s four-game win streak with a 66-65 win on Saturday.

The Bluejays (13-4, 4-2 Big East) prevailed in a physical, back-and-forth game that St. John’s (12-5, 4-2) looked to have in hand in the middle of the second half.

“We've often been accused of not being able to win a mud fight and today we did,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said.

The Bluejays shot 22% on 3-pointers, going 6 of 27 for only their third game under 30% from distance. They shot 36.7% overall, their second-worst mark of the season.

“Our shots weren’t falling, but we still played with a bunch of energy and we didn’t give up easy things on defense just because we weren't making shots,” center Ryan Kalkbrenner said. “You’ve got to win these rock fight games when the shots aren’t going in and things are getting physical.”

Kalkbrenner led the Bluejays with 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocks - none bigger than his swat of Daniss Jenkins' shot in the final minute that led to Alexander's winning free throws.

Alexander had missed a jumper on the other end, but Francisco Farabello scrapped for the rebound and got the ball back to Alexander, who drove the baseline and got fouled by Jenkins.

Jenkins and Jordan Dingle missed shots in the final seconds to give the Bluejays their fourth straight win.

“Nothing they did was overly impressive. Nothing we did was overly impressive,” St. John's coach Rick Pitino said. “Just two teams playing their heart out and they came out with the victory.”

The Red Storm have lost seven straight against the Bluejays and haven't won in Omaha since 2019.

Baylor Scheierman had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Creighton.

St. John's Joel Soriano had 13 points and 11 rebounds for his Big East-leading 10th double-double.

Creighton trailed by nine points after Scheierman was called for a technical foul with just under 10 minutes left. The Bluejays went on a 12-2 run to go ahead briefly, and there were five lead changes before Alexander put his team in front to stay.

“Extremely disappointing loss for us,” Pitino said. “We played good enough to win but on the road you have to get loose balls, got to get reobunds. The team is very down about it.”


St. John's: The Red Storm came to Omaha with its best Big East start since 2000-01 and just fell short in their bid for their first road win over a ranked opponent. Pitino, who took over a program that has had a losing Big East record seven of the last eight years, must be considered the early favorite for conference coach of the year.

Creighton: The Bluejays are 12-1 at home all-time against the Johnnies, but this wasn't the blowout recent meetings have been. A hard-nosed win like this should serve them well going forward.


Pitino didn't bite when reporters asked if there should have been a fouled called on St. John's last possession. Farabello leaned into and knocked over Dingle as Dingle took the final shot just outside the top of the lane.

“I’m not going to blame it on them,” Pitino said. “We have to be tough enough to make a mid-range jumper in the lane.”


St. John's: visits Seton Hall on Tuesday.

Creighton: visits No. 4 Connecticut on Wednesday.


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