OMAHA, Neb. - Creighton won its fourth straight game and never trailed for a third straight contest while posting a 68-54 win over California before a sellout crowd of 17,533 on Sunday evening in Omaha. The Bluejays closed the first half on a 10-1 run, then opened the second stanza on a 10-3 burst and never were threatened in the final 15 minutes.
The Bluejays improved to 9-2 on the season, while Cal dropped to 8-4 with its second loss in as many years against Creighton after last year's 74-64 Bluejay win in Berkeley. Creihgton never trailed in last year's win over Cal, either.
Using stingy defense, Creighton built a 15-6 lead in the opening 11 minutes against Mike Montgomery's club. The Golden Bears would close within 20-18 after a Kameron Rooks' baseline jumper with 4:38 left in the first half before Creighton embarked on a 10-1 spurt to close out the first half. Creighton All-American Doug McDermott, had eight of those points for CU, including a putback to beat the halftime buzzer and give the Jays a 30-19 lead at intermission.
Cal hit a three-pointer to open the second half before Creighton continued its flurry with the next 10 points. Jahenns Manigat had five points in that stretch while also assisting on an Ethan Wragge three-pointer to key the rally.
Creighton's lead reached 20 for the first time at 53-33 with 9:27 left on a score from Grant Gibbs, and the lead never dipped below 14 points the rest of the night.
McDermott had 20 or more points for the 10th time in 11 games this year and turned in his second double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Also in double-figures for Creighton were Austin Chatman with 11 points and Gibbs with 10. Creighton shot 44.6 percent for the night, including 7-of-22 from three-point range, while sinking 11-of-13 foul shots. Creighton also outrebounded Cal 39-31 after being beaten 53-38 on the boards last season.
Cal was led by 13 points and four assists from Justin Cobbs, who shot 4-for-11. Tyrone Wallace had 12 points and four assists while David Kravish tallied 11 points and five rebounds. Richard Solomon, who came in averaging 12.0 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, was limited to six points and six rebounds whlie attempting just three shots from the field. The Golden Bears shot 36.4 percent from the floor, including 5-of-24 from downtown, and were 9-of-15 at the line.
The Bears played without injured guard Ricky Kreklow, then lost Jabari Bird late in the first half to another injury. He would not return.
Creighton returns to action on Dec. 29 when it hosts Chicago State at 4:07 pm for its final game before starting its debut season in the BIG EAST.