No. 22 Creighton holds off St. John’s in tight finish

Trey Alexander sank a pair of free throws with 12.3 seconds remaining to lift No. 22 Creighton to a 66-65 victory over St. John’s on Saturday afternoon in Omaha, Neb.

The Bluejays (13-4, 4-2 Big East) trailed by nine with just under 9 1/2 minutes left before using a 12-2 outburst to grab a 59-58 lead. Neither team led by two the rest of the way.

Joel Soriano’s layup put the Red Storm (12-5, 4-2) back in front at 65-64 with 2:02 to play, but the visitors would not score again. Daniss Jenkins and Jordan Dingle both missed potential game-winning jumpers in the final seconds.

Baylor Scheierman finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds for Creighton, which also got 18 points, nine rebounds and four blocks from Ryan Kalkbrenner. The Bluejays prevailed despite shooting just 36.7 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from deep.

Soriano had 13 points and 11 boards as St. John’s had a four-game winning streak come to an end. Jenkins chipped in 11 points and five assists.

The Red Storm went 28-for-69 from the floor (40.6 percent) and 2-for-11 (18.2 percent) from long range.

After scoring just four points in the first half, Soriano had seven in the first 2:25 of the second half to help SJ draw even at 39-all at the 17:06 mark.

Creighton would build a three-point lead before St. John’s put together a 10-0 run to go up 52-45 with 9:47 remaining.

Scheierman ended a Bluejays scoring drought of nearly 5 1/2 minutes with a layup, but he was adamant that he was fouled on the play and complained to referees, leading to a technical.

Nahiem Alleyne sank the two ensuing foul shots and Zuby Ejiofor added a short jumper to push the Red Storm’s cushion to 56-47 with 9:29 to go.

Alleyne scored the only points for St. John’s during the first 5:41 of the game as the Bluejays raced out to a 10-4 lead.

The Red Storm responded with 14 of the next 16 points to move ahead 18-12.

Steven Ashworth later capped a 10-2 run with a 3-pointer to give Creighton a six-point edge with 2:53 to go before the Bluejays settled for a 35-30 advantage at the break.