No. 22 Creighton pulls away from No. 9 Badgers 79-67

Creighton center Justin Patton (23) dunks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. Creighton won 79-67. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nati Harnik/AP

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Khyri Thomas scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half, breaking open a close game with a three-point play and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions, and No. 22 Creighton defeated ninth-ranked Wisconsin 79-67 on Tuesday night.

Maurice Watson Jr. had 17 points and 10 assists and Marcus Foster added 15 points for the Bluejays (2-0).

Bronson Koenig scored 21 points and Nigel Hayes had 16 points to lead the Badgers (1-1), who made only 3 of 26 3-pointers after starting 8 of 13 from beyond the arc.

Wisconsin got within seven points in the final minute, but Justin Patton and Thomas finished off the Badgers with back-to-back dunks.

Hayes, the Big Ten preseason player of the year, scored 11 points in the first 12 minutes and was held scoreless until Ethan Happ fed him for an easy lay-in with 11 minutes left in the game.

That's when Creighton started its decisive run. Cole Huff's jumper from in front of the Creighton bench put the Bluejays up 52-50. After Toby Hegner hit a 3, Thomas stripped the ball from Koenig, drove for a layup and converted a three-point play.

Happ missed on the other end, and then Thomas drilled a 3 to make it 63-52.

The Badgers, who have all five of their starters back from last season, were the highest-ranked non-conference opponent to visit the Bluejays since a No. 4 DePaul in 1983-84.

The game was part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games matching Big East and Big Ten teams the first week of the season.

BIG PICTURE

Wisconsin: Typical November game. The Badgers committed 16 turnovers and were impatient on offense, especially in the first half. The Badgers shot just 41 percent.

Creighton: The Bluejays have one of the best home-court advantages in the nation. Fueled by a juiced-up crowd, the Bluejays got out to a quick lead and never let the Badgers go on a big run.

UP NEXT

Wisconsin hosts Chicago State on Thursday.

Creighton plays Washington State on Friday at the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org