McDermott Wins 600th Game as Men’s Basketball Tops #1 UConn, 85-66

OMAHA, Neb. — For the first time in school history the No. 15 Creighton men’s basketball team picked up a win over the top team in the nation, upsetting No. 1 Connecticut 85-66 on Tuesday, February 20. The win was the 600th career victory for Creighton head coach Greg McDermott.

The Bluejays moved to 20-7 overall and 11-5 in BIG EAST play, clinching its ninth straight 20-win season and 24th in the past 26 campaigns. Connecticut fell to 24-3 on the season and 14-2 in conference action, as its league-record tying 14-game win streak in BIG EAST play was snapped.

Connecticut got off to a fast start with a 7-0 start in the opening 90 seconds and held an 11-3 edge with 15:51 showing on the clock. Returning to the court after the first media timeout, Creighton closed the frame with a 40-18 surge over the next 15 minutes.

Creighton’s charge began with a 5-0 burst ignited by a dunk from Ryan Kalkbrenner, followed by a three-pointer from Trey Alexander to make it 11-8. Down 23-21 Steven Ashworth took over with 13 of the next 18 points as the Bluejays seized a 39-25 advantage. Jasen Green started the surge with his first career three-pointer to give Creighton its first lead, then Kalkbrenner threw down a dunk to make it 26-23. From there Ashworth’s 13-point barrage was only interrupted by a dunk from Connecticut’s Donovan Clingan. Ashworth closed the first half with 16 points as the Bluejays took a 43-29 lead into the locker room.

Creighton’s momentum carried through the break as Ashworth drained another three-ball, then Mason Miller dropped in a layup to push the edge to 48-29. The edge grew to as much as 21 points at 55-34 with 17:15 left on Trey Alexander’s three-pointer from the top of the key. Later in the frame another dunk by Kalkbrenner and Green’s second trey of the evening gave the Bluejays a 23-point bulge (69-46) with just over 10 minutes left.

Connecticut answered with a 10-0 run over its own and pulled with 10 points at 74-64 as the game moved to the final media timeout with 4:29 remaining.

Down the stretch the Bluejays showed their mettle with an 11-2 run to close the game, securing the first win over a top-ranked squad in seven tries.

Ashworth led four Bluejays in double figures with 20 points, his 11th straight game in double-figures. Alexander finished with 16 points, Kalkbrenner delivered 15 and Scheierman posted 12 points.  Green and Miller both finished with eight points. The Bluejays shot 54.7 percent from the field and made 14-of-28 three-pointers (50 percent). The field goal percentage, three-pointers made and points scored were all season-highs against the Huskies.

Connecticut got a game-high 27 points from Tristen Newton, while Clingan delivered 12 points and Stephon Castle finished with 10 points. UConn shot 44.1 percent for the game but made just 3-of-16 three-point tries.

Creighton returns to the hardwood on Sunday, February 25 in a road contest at Madison Square Garden against St. John’s at 11:00 a.m.

NOTES: Creighton moved to 1-6 against teams ranked No. 1 … The Bluejays also moved to 4-0 at home against Connecticut as well as 7-2 all-time against the Huskies … Per Elias, Creighton is just the 18th program to ever beat the top-ranked team in the country by 19 points or more, and first since UMBC upset Virginia in the 2018 NCAA Tournament .. Creighton has now won 20 or more games 35 times in program history, including 13-of-14 seasons under Greg McDermott … Creighton is now 2-12 all-time against the defending national champions, having also beaten Oklahoma State in 1947 … Creighton has beaten at least one Top 10 team each of the last nine seasons. The Jays also have multiple Top 25 wins for the ninth straight year … Creighton is now 37-52 under Greg McDermott against ranked teams. No other coach has more than eight such victories … Creighton is now 13-24 against Top 10 teams, compared to a 5-31 mark by his predecessors … Baylor Scheierman had 12 points and moved into the Top 50 on Creighton’s all-time scoring list … Creighton and UConn are two of four teams nationally with Top 25 teams in both men’s and women’s basketball, joining Baylor and South Carolina … Before tonight, the highest-ranked team Creighton had ever beaten was No. 3 Villanova on Feb. 24, 2018 …  Creighton is now 5-2 against ranked Connecticut teams … The only other teams that entered the season with eight straight 20-win campaigns are Kansas, Gonzaga, Belmont, Oregon, Creighton and Houston … Baylor Scheierman  made a three-pointer for the 15th straight game … Creighton has won 19 straight games when making 50 percent or more of its three-point shots … Ryan Kalkbrenner has scored in double-figures in 14 straight games … Creighton owns 14 straight wins when scoring 11 or more second chance points … Cam Spencer’s streak of 26 straight games with a made three-pointer was snapped. It had been tied with Marquette’s Kam Jones for the league-lead … Creighton has made 10 more three-pointers than its opponents six times, which is tied for the most such games nationally with Alabama … The loss was UConn’s largest margin of defeat since losing 84-45 to Houston in the 2019 AAC Tournament.

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