NEW YORK (AP) — Arthur Kaluma hit three straight 3-pointers down the stretch and No. 18 Creighton overcame a second-half scoring drought to pull away from St. John’s for a 77-67 victory Saturday night.
Creighton (18-9, 12-4) remained in a three-way tie for second place in the Big East after Providence and Xavier won earlier in the day. Marquette holds a one-game lead in the conference and visits Creighton on Tuesday night.
Ryan Nembhard had 16 points for the Bluejays, who went scoreless for six minutes in allowing St. John’s to briefly take the lead. Kaluma finished with 13 points and Ryan Kalkbrenner added 12 as Creighton won for the ninth time in 10 games.
Joel Soriano led St. John’s with 15 points and eight rebounds. David Jones added 14 points off the bench but the Red Storm (16-12, 6-11) were unable to get their third straight win.
Creighton entered shooting 47.1% from the field and shot 56.7% in its 104-76 rout of St. John’s last month at home. The Bluejays made enough shots late to finish at 38.7% overall.
The Bluejays led by just one before Kaluma hit 3s on consecutive possessions to make it 64-57 with 3:44 left. He drained another 3 to make 67-57 with 2:28 remaining and then found Kalkbrenner for a dunk that made it 69-57 with 1:47 to go.
St. John’s scored 11 straight points and took a 49-48 lead on Kolby King’s layup with 11:54 left after Soriano blocked a shot by Nembhard. Creighton missed 13 straight shots from the field over 7 1/2 minutes until Nembhard’s basket gave the Bluejays a 52-49 lead with 9:54 to go.
Creighton took its first double-digit lead at 35-24 when Baylor Scheierman stole the ball from Posh Alexander and found Kaluma for a two-handed dunk with 4:11 left in the first half. After St. John’s got within five, the Bluejays held a 42-32 lead at halftime when Kalkbrenner blocked Jones at the rim.
Creighton: The Bluejays went 13 of 33 (39.4%) from 3-point range after shooting a combined 30% (12 of 40) in a split against UConn and Providence.
St. John’s: Playing at Carnesecca Arena on campus, the Red Storm were unable to get their third win over a ranked conference foe this season after beating Providence at Madison Square Garden last weekend and winning at UConn on Jan. 15.
Red Storm junior guard Andre Curbelo was out for a third straight game due to a coach’s decision. The Illinois transfer is averaging 9.6 points and 4.5 assists per game. He also was held out of the Jan. 3 game against Marquette.
St. John’s also announced sophomore guard Rafael Pinzon was suspended indefinitely for not meeting team standards. Pinzon is averaging 6.1 points in 19 games this season.
Creighton: Will host No. 11 Marquette on Tuesday. The Bluejays missed 16 of 20 3-pointers in their 69-56 loss at Marquette on Dec. 18.
St. Johns: Visits last-place Georgetown on Wednesday before hosting No. 20 UConn at Madison Square Garden next Saturday.
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