Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Creighton's players found themselves alone on the perimeter quite a bit against Arizona State and knocked down most of those open shots.
Even when the Bluejays weren't open, they quickly worked the ball around, leaving the Sun Devils unable to catch up. They knocked those shots down, too.
Hitting Arizona State with a barrage of 3-pointers, No. 9 Creighton overcame a slow start and remained undefeated with a 96-85 victory over Arizona State on Tuesday night.
The Bluejays made 14 of 25 from 3-point range, with six players hitting at least one .
"We always feed off our 3s," said Creighton's Marcus Foster, who had 29 points. "We got some easy ones in the paint early and our 3s started falling in the second half."
Creighton had to scrape past Oral Roberts in its last game and fell into a quick hole against the pumped-up Sun Devils. The Bluejays led by just five at halftime, but shot their way past Arizona State, hitting 16 of 24 shots — 6 of 9 from 3-point range — to pull away.
Justin Patton added 18 points to help Creighton (12-0) extend its best start since 2003-04. Toby Hegner and Isaiah Zierden led the 3-point attack, combining to make 8 of 11 while scoring 12 points each.
"Obviously, just before Christmas, you're not sure if they're going to have one foot on that plane on the way home already, but our guys remained focused and we came here and got the win," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said.
Arizona State (6-6) held its own in the first half against the highest-ranked non-conference team to play in Tempe since No. 7 Ohio State in 1980. The Sun Devils had too many breakdowns defensively on the perimeter, though, particularly during the second half as Creighton ran the lead up to 20 points.
Torian Graham and Tra Holder had 24 points each for Arizona State. Obi Oleka added 19 points and 16 rebounds.
"It's a results game, no moral victories, but you respect your players as competitors," Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. "This was a fast-paced game, Creighton pushes the ball, they have threats in transition, these guys expended a lot of energy chasing guys around the court."
Arizona State knocked off Creighton on the road last season, but this is a much different Bluejays team.
Creighton entered Tuesday's game as one of six undefeated teams left in Division I, second nationally in shooting (53.9 percent) and eighth in scoring (89.3 points).
Unlike its previous two games against ranked opponents — No. 1 Kentucky, No. 18 Purdue — the Sun Devils got off to a good start, scoring the game's first nine points.
Creighton, as it usually does, fought back from 3-point range, hitting 8 of 13 from beyond the arc to lead 45-40 at halftime.
The Bluejays hit their first five shots to go up 10 and kept hitting 3s, pushing the lead to 20 in the first 9 1/2 minutes.
Arizona State used a 9-0 run to cut the lead in half, but Foster hit a 3-pointer with about 6 minutes left and the Bluejays pulled away again.
"We were kind of tired to start and we picked it back up," Arizona State's Kodi Justice said. "But they made quite a few 3s right there and were behind quick."
Creighton had to hold on for a one-point win over Oral Roberts in its previous game, but had no trouble with the Sun Devils once they overcame their slow start.
Arizona State was no match for the Bluejays once they got rolling and had their third blowout loss to a ranked opponent.
Hegner and Zierden are former starters who have moved into bench roles this season.
They provided the Bluejays with a big lift in the first half after Khyri Thomas picked up two quick fouls and the shots weren't falling.
Zierden was 3 for 4 from 3-point range and Hegner 2 for 3 in the first half.
"They were huge for us, without question the difference in the game," McDermott said.
Creighton gets an extended break before opening Big East play against Seton Hall on Dec. 28.
Arizona State hosts Central Arkansas on Thursday in its final non-conference game.
More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP\_Top25.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.