NEWARK, N.J. — No. 23 Creighton knocked off No. 10 Seton Hall 87-82 Wednesday night, reinserting itself into the Big East title race by claiming its second road win over a top-10 team in the last two weeks.
The Jays (19-6, 8-4), tied for second place coming in, had to use their small-ball lineup to counter the size of the first-place Pirates (18-6, 10-2). But junior Damien Jefferson was especially effective, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Jefferson had a putback layup and another interior bucket (off a pass from Marcus Zegarowski) during the final four minutes — both field goals putting CU ahead by five points.
Seton Hall did narrow the gap to 75-74 with less than 90 seconds left, but junior Denzel Mahoney nailed a wide-open 3-pointer on Creighton’s next possession to stretch the lead to 78-74.
The Jays did have to go 7 of 8 from the free-throw line in the final minute to seal the win.
The victory comes just 12 days after Creighton knocked off then-No. 8 Villanova in Philadelphia. And with six league games to go, including a Seton Hall-CU rematch in Omaha, the conference’s regular-season title race is not yet over.
In addition to the regular-season finale against the Jays, the Pirates still have to play road games against Providence and No. 18 Marquette and home games against No. 15 Villanova and No. 19 Butler. CU has four of its final six games at home.
One of the major keys for the Jays on Wednesday was junior Ty-Shon Alexander’s defensive effort against Pirate veteran Myles Powell. The senior guard, who didn’t make a field goal in the first half, ended up with just 12 points on 3 of 16 shooting.
Alexander scored 18 points on the other end. Zegarowski finished with 18 points and eight assists. Mahoney added 18 points off the bench.
Creighton: This is a quick, good-shooting team. They are peaking and have gotten better since Mahoney became eligible at the end of the first semester. A higher spot in the rankings is coming.
Seton Hall: The Pirates stayed close despite Powell. He can’t afford to have a game like this in the NCAA Tournament if Seton Hall expects to do anything. They will drop a little in the poll.
Creighton: Host DePaul Saturday night.
Seton Hall: at Providence on Saturday night.
— The Associated Press contributed to this story.