Creighton uses hot shooting to run past Butler

Creighton spent the last two weeks looking for ways replace their star point guard.

Coach Doug McDermott found the perfect solution Tuesday night.

Justin Patton, Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas all scored 15 points Tuesday night and No. 22 Creighton regained its three-point shooting touch as it ran away from No. 16 Butler, 76-67.

“This is a huge win for us given the events of the past couple of weeks,” McDermott said. “We’re still trying to find ourselves in some regards, so to come in here and get this victory is a real shot in the arm.”

Initially, the Bluejays (20-3, 7-3 Big East) struggled without Maurice Watson Jr ., who tore the ACL in his left knee Jan. 16.

But after losing three of their previous four and sliding from the top 10 almost out of the Top 25, Creighton has reverted to its early season form.

It has won two straight and moved into second place in the conference standings after going 13 of 21 from 3-point range, a season-high 61.9 percent.

That’s not all.

They were 55.8 percent from the field, limited the usually high-scoring Bulldogs to just 40.0 percent and allowed only 2 three’s in the second half.

“We were never going to fold, we never doubted ourselves,” Patton said after scoring 12 points in the second half. “We just had to learn everything all over again and it looks pretty good right now, if I do say so myself.”

After losing the first meeting and playing catch-up most of the first half Tuesday, Butler scored the first five points of the second half to take a 38-37 lead.

Then Creighton went on a 17-4 run to take a 54-42 lead with 14:05 left. After the Bulldogs cut the deficit to five, the Bluejays quickly extended the margin to double digits and Butler couldn’t get closer than seven the rest of the night.

Kamar Baldwin scored 14 points and Kelan Martin added 11 for the Bulldogs (18-5, 7-4), not enough to avoid their first back-to-back losses of the season.

“I never felt like we defended with any type of purpose in the Georgetown game,” coach Chris Holtmann said after Butler’s second straight home loss. “And I never felt like we did in the Creighton game.” <br>

<center> BIG PICTURE </center><br>

Butler: A week ago, the Bulldogs looked like they were on the verge of cracking the top 10. Now, they are in a funk – largely because of poor defense. Expect Holtmann to spend most of his time over the next week looking for solutions.