No. 5 Kansas survived an upset bid at home against No. 8 Creighton on Tuesday after a fast and frenetic finish inside Allen Fieldhouse saw the Jayhawks barely escape with a 73-72 win.
KU led by five with 90 seconds left before Bluejays star Denzel Mahoney hit a 3-pointer and a layup on consecutive Creighton possessions tied the game at 70 with 1:04 remaining. Kansas star Jalen Wilson hit a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to put the Jayhawks ahead 73-70 with 40 seconds left. But with just two seconds left on the clock, Wilson made a costly mistake by fouling Marcus Zegarowski on a game-tying 3-point attempt, sending him to the line with the possibility of sending it to overtime. Zegarowski made the first two free throws, but missed the third, and the game ended after the rebound flailed out of bounds.
“We were fortunate, very fortunate,” said Bill Self after the game. “The game should’ve never been in that situation though. Even though it was a great game, and either team could’ve won, we had a chance to put ourselves in a position where that couldn’t happen, and we almost really screwed it up.”
Zegarowski, a preseason All-American and the preseason Big East Player of the Year, finished with 16 points. He struggled on the day, going just 5-of-14 from the floor. But for Creighton to have a chance to send it to overtime with Zegarowski holding the fate is everything the Bluejays could’ve hoped for and more.
For Kansas, Wilson again led the way in scoring for a second consecutive game with 23 points. Sophomore Christian Braun had 14, and big man David McCormack had his best game of the season in the effort, adding 13 points, seven boards and a steal. It moves KU to 5-1 on the season and extends its winning streak to five after a season-opening loss to No. 1 Gonzaga. It’s Creighton’s first loss on the season, dropping it to 3-1 overall.