Christian Bishop's 16 points led a balanced scoring attack Sunday as No. 11 Creighton opened its season with a 69-58 nonconference win over visiting North Dakota State at Omaha, Neb.
Big East Conference Preseason Player of the Year Marcus Zegarowski chipped in 12 points to go along with six assists for the Bluejays (1-0), while Antwann Jones and Mitch Ballock added 11 each. Creighton collected 18 assists on 27 made buckets and committed just four turnovers.
Rocky Kreuser scored 16 points for the Bison (0-3), who were playing for the second time in as many days after falling Saturday at Nebraska. North Dakota State and Creighton scheduled this game on three days' notice.
The Bison again experienced problems making shots, finishing the day at just 40 percent from the field. But that was still a season best for them after they hit for only 29 and 29.1 percent, respectively, in defeats against Nevada and Nebraska.
North Dakota State actually landed the first run in this one, hurting the Bluejays with straight-line drives that either led to 3-pointers or point-blank shots at the goal. The Bison opened up a 10-4 lead less than four minutes in.
But the game's remainder steadily trended to the more experienced, more cohesive squad. Creighton took its first lead when Jones, a transfer from Memphis, drove for a layup at the 13:54 mark to make it 11-10.
Two foul shots by Jones put the Bluejays ahead for good at 13-12 with 12:36 left in the half. They also started a 9-0 spurt that Ballock punctuated with a rare dunk for a 20-12 advantage with 11:11 remaining.
Creighton's consistency kept North Dakota State at arm's length the rest of the way, even when the Bison made another run and closed within 27-22. The Bluejays finished with a 9-2 burst, with Zegarowski beating the halftime buzzer with a pullup jumper that upped the margin to a dozen at intermission.
Creighton upped the cushion to 23 points with just over five minutes left before North Dakota State made the final margin respectable with a game-ending 14-2 spurt.
--Field Level Media