Alexander’s fadeaway with 0.2 seconds left lifts No. 10 Creighton over Villanova 69-67

Creighton's Baylor Scheierman reacts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova, Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Creighton’s Baylor Scheierman reacts during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Villanova, Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Trey Alexander hit a fadeaway jumper with 0.2 seconds left and finished with 17 points to give No. 10 Creighton a 69-67 win over Villanova on Saturday.

Baylor Scheierman scored 11 of his 18 points in Creighton’s dominating first half. Ryan Kalkbrenner added 14 points for Creighton (23-8, 14-6 Big East), which clinched the No. 2 seed in the Big East Tournament. The victory also avenged a 68-66 overtime loss to Villanova on Dec. 20, giving Creighton a victory over every conference team this season.

Eric Dixon scored 25 points and Justin Moore had 17 points for Villanova (17-14, 10-10), which lost a game that it needed to better its chances at an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Now, the Wildcats likely will need a deep run in the conference tournament to avoid missing March Madness for the second straight season in both years under coach Kyle Neptune.

Neptune replaced Hall of Famer Jay Wright following the 2022 season when Wright surprisingly retired after leading Villanova to the Final Four. Villanova won a pair of championships, in 2016 and 2018, under Wright.

The Wildcats fell behind early and trailed by 11 points at the half. They twice cut the second-half deficit to seven points, but the Bluejays surged ahead 63-49 with 6:14 remaining.

Villanova made a furious final push. The Wildcats scored 12 straight points, getting five apiece from Mark Armstrong and Dixon, before Moore’s layup ended the run to pull the Wildcats within 63-61 with 2:34 left. After a Kalkbrenner hook, Moore’s 3-pointer with 1:33 to play made it 65-64. Kalkbrenner dunked to push Creighton’s lead to 67-64 with 59 seconds remaining.

After TJ Bamba’s steal of Steven Ashworth with 34 seconds to play, Dixon was fouled and hit all three free throws with 23.6 ticks remaining to tie it at 67. Alexander then dribbled through the lane and hit a fadeaway from about 10 feet away with 0.2 seconds left. Bamba threw a long inbounds pass to Dixon, whose shot at the buzzer was off.

The Bluejays were up 21-3 early in the first half, which resulted in a Neptune timeout as boos rained down on the Wildcats from the home fans at the school’s alternate home court at the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Philadelphia 76ers.

UP NEXT

Creighton: Plays in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament on Thursday in New York against the winner of the No. 7 vs. No. 10 seeds.

Villanova: Plays in the first round of the conference tournament on Wednesday in New York.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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