UConn upended by No. 17 Creighton 59-56 in Big East Semifinals

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UConn Isaiah Whaley upset at call vs. Creighton
UConn Isaiah Whaley upset at call vs. Creighton

NEW YORK (AP) — Marcus Zegarowski made two key baskets in a decisive nine-point run late in the second half and No. 17 Creighton held Connecticut without a field goal over the final six minutes to beat the Huskies 59-56 Friday night in the Big East Tournament semifinals.

The second-seeded Bluejays (20-7) will play eighth-seeded Georgetown in the championship game Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

Down 53-48 with 5:44 left in the second half, the Bluejays took over behind Zegarowski. The junior guard started a 9-0 run with a driving layup and capped it with a mid-range jumper that put Creighton up 57-53 with 2:35 left.

Trailing by three with 20 seconds left, UConn (15-7) had three shots on its final possession: James Bouknight missed a 3 off the dribble, but UConn chased down the rebound. Bouknight then drove to the basket, but his scoop came up short. The Huskies batted out another rebound and Tyler Polley had a wide-open 3 to tie from the wing with 5 seconds left and it rimmed out.

Zegarowski finished with 13 points and Damien Jeffeson led Creighton with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Bouknight scored 14 to lead the third-seeded Huskies, who were playing in their first Big East Tournament since 2012 after returning to the conference this season.

Creighton will look for its first Big East Tournament championship a little more than a week after coach Greg McDermott was suspended by the school for making racially insensitive remarks to his team. McDermott missed the regular-season finale before being reinstated earlier this week for the tournament.

Creighton has reached the Big East final twice previously since it joined the league for the 2013-14 season, but has yet to win the championship.

BIG PICTURE

UConn: The Huskies started fast, jumping out to a 13-2 lead behind Adama Sanogo’s eight points. Sanogo picked up his second foul at the 8:47 mark and sat the rest of the half. Without the 6-foot-9 freshman on the floor, Creighton went to work inside and took a 30-26 lead at halftime. Sanogo finished with 13 points and four fouls.

The Huskies also went the last 4:30 of the game without point guard R.J. Cole, who hit his face on the floor after going down awkwardly on a drive to the basket.

Creighton: Zegarowski struggled to find his groove most of the game against UConn’s tough perimeter defense. He finished 6 for 14 from the floor, but Christian Bishop helped pick up the slack with 11 points.

UP NEXT

UConn will be back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016.

Creighton split two games against Georgetown this season.