OMAHA, Neb. — Jahmyl Telfort matched his season high with 26 points, DJ Davis added 22 and Butler held off No. 13 Creighton 99-98 in a wild finish Friday night.
The Bulldogs (15-7, 6-5 Big East) won their fourth straight. They shot 62.5% in the second half and went 13 of 22 on 3-pointers for the game against the conference’s top 3-point defense.
It was their second win over a ranked opponent, a resume-helper for a team squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble with just over a month left in the regular season.
“We’ve had so many games in league, a decent amount, where we’ve been right there,” Butler coach Thad Matta said. “I could go around the locker room and talk about every single guy and what he brought to the table for us tonight.”
Baylor Scheierman and Steven Ashworth scored 26 points apiece for the Bluejays (16-6, 7-4). Trey Alexander had 22 and Ryan Kalkbrenner 20.
Finley Bizjack’s layup gave Butler a 69-68 lead with 12 minutes left, and the Bulldogs never relinquished it. There still was plenty of drama before the highest-scoring Big East game of the season ended.
“That was a crazy game, and for people watching on TV, there was a lot of shot-making in that game, crazy 3s, crazy shots,” Telfort said.
Bizjack, the Bulldogs’ first man off the bench, entered the game just 9 of 44 on 3s but made all three of his shots from distance. Boden Kapke, who has played sparingly in six games before Friday, made two 3s and hit key free throws late.
The Bluejays never trailed by more than five points the rest of the way and, after Kalkbrenner made two free throws to make it 97-96 with 11 seconds left, they had two chances to go ahead.
Creighton got the ball right back when Butler’s inbound pass following Kalkbrenner’s free throws went off DJ Davis’ leg and out of bounds. But Alexnader lost the ball on Creighton’s inbound pass, and Francisco Farabello fouled Davis on the next inbounds pass, hitting him around the eye.
Davis was unable to shoot the free throws, with Kapke taking his place and making both with 6.4 seconds left for a three-point lead.
Alexander was fouled immediately and made two free throws to make it 99-98 with 5.8 seconds left. The ball got loose on the Butler inbound, and Creighton got the ball on the alternating possession after a tie-up.
But only 0.5 seconds remained. Alexander’s pass to the hoop was good, but Kalkbrenner was unable to tip it in.
“Hat’s off to Butler,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “Any one who comes in and scores 99 on us on our home floor played pretty darn well.”
The Bulldogs played without Posh Alexander (foot), who was held out after going through pregame warmups. Landon Moore, who played two seasons at St. Francis, made his first start for the Bulldogs.
Butler: Butler has won one more game than it did last season. It was a Butler kind of game. The Bulldogs are averaging 81.5 points per game, its best figure since 1990-91, and allowing 73.8, it’s most since 1991-92.
Creighton: The Bluejays lost for the first time in 34 Friday night games since 1977.
Butler: At No. 1 Connecticut on Tuesday night.
Creighton: At Providence on Wednesday night.
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