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St. John’s beaten by Creighton, 97-79

The Red Storm could not slow Creighton in Omaha despite Champagnie’s 33 points, and the absence of Creighton star Zegarowski.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

It was fun for a while, but then Creighton’s shots kept falling and St. John’s shots did not.

Despite a career-high 33 points from Julian Champagnie, the Red Storm were brushed aside by runs of 8-0 and 9-2 on their way to a deflating 97-79 defeat on the road to the Creighton Bluejays.

Creighton finished with six players in double figures, led by Denzel Mahoney’s 24.

The Johnnies started off decently, with Julian Champagnie feeling the scoring touch against a Bluejays team that plays players more his size — undersized but quick forwards. The Red Storm were good early, but it was clear from the start that despite missing possible All-American point guard Marcus Zegarowski, the Bluejays were in sync.

Meanwhile, the Red Storm started the game by miscommunicating on a switch and allowing an open three to Creighton’s Denzel Mahoney. As the half went on, Creighton kept the ball moving and St. John’s could not shoot to keep up.

The Bluejays brought in seven-footer Ryan Kalkbrenner, and just like in the previous matchup, Kalkbrenner made life difficult for the Johnnies. An 8-4 run was started by his length, then Creighton dropped 8-0 and 9-2 runs to push the lead to 15.

The defense struggled to communicate and rotate, and Creighton played them like an easy crossword puzzle. The rebounding for St. John’s was lackluster, the effort in transition was poor at times, and overall, Creighton was in control for at least 30 minutes of the game.

St. John’s deficit was as many as 22, they got as close as 11 in the second half.

Creighton improves to 10-2, 6-1 in the Big East. St. John’s falls to 6-6, 1-5 in the Big East.

Next up for St. John’s is a matchup against Butler on Tuesday, where the Red Storm hope to do better at home.