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NCAAB: Retooled Creighton rallies past Arkansas-Pine Bluff

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Alex O’Connell had 17 of his team-high and career-high 20 points in the second half as Creighton defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff 90-77 Tuesday night at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Neb. Creighton outscored Arkansas-Pine Bluff 52-30 in the second half.

Creighton used a 17-2 run early in the second half to take its first lead of the game at 57-55. The Bluejays quickly pulled away for a comfortable win, leading by as many as 17 points on multiple occasions.

O’Connell, a former Duke transfer, hit three 3-pointers and a pair of thunderous dunks in the second half.

Four other Bluejays reached double figures in scoring. Ryan Hawkins had 16 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Freshman Arthur Kaluma had 15 points, fellow freshman Ryan Nehmhard added 15 points and 10 assists, and KeyShawn Feazell had 11 points.

Trey Sampson had a game-high 29 points, plus 10 rebounds for the Golden Lions, who are starting over after a 4-21 season last season. Shawn Williams had 16 points for Pine Bluff. Brandon Brown had 8 points and 14 rebounds.

Creighton had just 16 percent of its scoring returning from last season, the third-lowest percentage in Division I, and it showed early. The Bluejays scored just 11 points in the first 10 minutes.

Creighton went scoreless for more than four minutes in the first half, allowing the Golden Lions to go on a 17-0 run and take a 19-7 lead. Arkansas-Pine Bluff led by as many as 15 points (26-11) before Creighton started chipping away at the lead. The Bluejays got the game as close as 31-26 before Pine Bluff pulled away for a 47-38 halftime lead.

First-half turnovers were a problem for Creighton, as the Bluejays committed nine. They also shot just 2-of-17 from 3-point range.

Sampson led Arkansas-Pine Bluff with 20 points in the first half. Creighton was led by the freshman duo of Nembhard (9 points) and Kaluma (6).

–Field Level Media

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