Nembhard’s 25 carry Creighton past Arkansas in Maui thriller – Fayetteville Flyer

Creighton forward Arthur Kaluma (24) guards Arkansas guard Ricky Council IV (1) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game on Tuesday, November 22, 2022 in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Ryan Nembhard drove down the track for an authoritative dunk in the final minutes, scoring a career-high 25 points for No. 10 Creighton, who survived a thrilling second half to defeat No. 9 Arkansas 90-87 on Tuesday and advancing to the championship game of the Maui Invitational.

Trey Alexander made two free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining for Creighton, who will play for the title against No. 14 Arizona or No. 17 San Diego State on Wednesday.

The Bluejays (6-0) and Razorbacks (4-1) played an exciting second half worthy of a March Madness game. Arkansas has reached the Elite Eight in consecutive seasons and Creighton reached the second round last year after advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2021.

Ryan Kalkbrenner scored 21 points, Baylor Scheierman 20 and Alexander 12 for the Bluejays, who held a 12-point lead late in the first half.

Anthony Black scored 26 points, Ricky Council IV 24 and Trevon Brazile 17 for the Razorbacks.

There were 10 substitutions in the lead and the game was tied 10 times in the second half.

Nembhard made two free throws after the Arkansas bench was called for a technical foul with 13:57 to go for a 53–53 tie. Creighton was in double bonus for the last 13 minutes.

Nembhard, the shortest player on the floor at six feet, drove for a dunk and a 79-76 lead with 2:34 remaining. Brazile answered with a three-pointer next time to tie the score at 79.

Kalkbrenner made a reverse jam with 1:20 left to give the Bluejays the lead for good at 83-81.

After Scheierman made two free throws for an 87–84 lead with 16 seconds remaining, Council missed a corner 3 and Nembhard bounced back and was fouled. He made one of two free throws and Black came across the floor and drank a straight-on 3 to get Arkansas within one. Alexander then made his two insurance free throws.

Creighton raced to a 12-point lead with 1:43 left in the first half before the Razorbacks closed with a 6-0 run capped off by Trevon Brazile’s thunderous dunk on an alley-oop pass from Anthony Black.

Big picture

Creighton: The Bluejays’ free-flowing offense produced three players in double digits at halftime: Nembhard with 13 points, Scheierman with 11 and Kalkbrenner with 10.

Arkansas: This was a big step up in competition for the Razorbacks. They opened the season with easy home wins against North Dakota State, Fordham and South Dakota State, then defeated winless Louisville by 26 points in their Maui opener.

Next one

Creighton will take on the Wildcats of Aztecs in what should be another March Madness worthy game for the title.

Arkansas takes on the loser SDSU-Arizona for third place.

Leave a Comment