Foster, Patton lead No. 10 Creighton in 93-72 win over Bulls
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Creighton's up-tempo offense is hard enough to deal with for an opponent that's at full strength. One that's short-handed is going to be left gasping for air.
The 10th-ranked Bluejays let Buffalo stick around into the middle of the second half and then pulled away against the worn-out Bulls for a 93-72 victory on Tuesday night.
''The reality of it is, our pace isn't going to have that much of an impact in the first half, but over the course of the game they're going to get tired,'' Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. ''We're going to get easy ones in transition, they're not quite as aggressive going to the glass because they're tired, and they're a little apprehensive to go to the offensive glass because they know what's coming when we get that rebound.''
Creighton (7-0) has outscored its last four opponents by 12, 15, 25 and 19 points in the second halves and are averaging 92 points a game.
The Bulls (4-3) were winding up an 11-day road trip that's taken them 8,400 miles, with a week spent at the Great Alaska Shootout and the stop in Omaha before a return to western New York. They also were missing starters in point guard C.J. Massinburg (mononucleosis) and Quate McKinzie (concussion). Also, guard Dontay Caruthers was limited to 15 minutes because of foul trouble.
''They're deep and they play fast, and if you're not in shape or you don't have a deep team, you're in trouble with them,'' Bulls coach Nate Oats said.
Marcus Foster scored 22 points and Justin Patton and Khyri Thomas had their first double-doubles. Patton had season highs of 21 points and 10 rebounds and Thomas had 18 points and 12 rebounds. Maurice Watson Jr. added 15 points and eight assists.
Foster had nine points during the decisive 13-0 run that made it 67-51 after the Bulls had cut Creighton's lead to 54-51.
''That's part of my game,'' Foster said. ''I'll score a bunch of buckets real quick. That's how I've always been.''
The Bulls got no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Blake Hamilton and Willie Conner scored 21 points apiece to lead the Bulls, and Raheem Johnson added 14.
Buffalo: The Bulls made it a game until midway in the second half before losing a second game to a top-10 opponent. Xavier beat them by 33 two weeks ago.
Creighton: The Bluejays elevated their game in the second half, getting a boost from Thomas, who had 14 of his 18 points and eight of his 12 rebounds in the final 20 minutes.
Creighton has been one of the fastest movers in the Top 25 , going from No. 22 in the preseason to No. 10 this week. The Bluejays have never been higher than No. 9, but the way they're playing, they could go higher than that soon.
Oats became emotional at his postgame news conference when he brought up the support he received from McDermott after he found out in October 2015 that his wife, Crystal, had cancer. McDermott's wife, Theresa, also has battled the disease.
''He was unbelievable during the whole deal with my wife. Financially he helped out with some stuff,'' Oats said. ''For all you writers in Omaha, you've got a big-time coach. I called him when I found out because I knew his wife had gone through it. He talked to me the entire time Crystal was going through treatment. He's been as good as anybody in the business on that deal.''
Buffalo visits St. Bonaventure on Saturday.
Creighton hosts another MAC opponent, Akron, on Saturday.
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