No. 19 Creighton rolls past No. 5 'Nova behind Zegarowski

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Creighton guard Marcus Zegarowski (11) makes a layup against Villanova forward Jermaine Samuels (23) in the first half during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/John Peterson)

OMAHA, Neb. – Marcus Zegarowski scored a season-high 25 points, Mitch Ballock had 17 of his 20 points in the second half and 19th-ranked Creighton's offense was at its high-tempo best in a 86-70 rout of No. 5 Villanova on Saturday.

Creighton (16-5, 12-4 Big East) won for the sixth time in seven games and knocked off a top-five opponent for the first time since beating Villanova in February 2018.

The Wildcats (13-3, 8-2) sustained their most lopsided loss since a 25-point defeat to Ohio State in November 2019.

The Bluejays pulled away early in the second half of the meeting of the Big East's top two teams. They had their best shooting first half of the season (65.4%) and finished at 59.3%.

Ballock made three of his six 3-pointers during a 13-2 run that extended the Bluejays advantage to 67-48.

Zegarowski bested Collin Gillespie in the highly anticipated matchup of two of the nation’s top point guards. Gillespie had eight points on 3-for-12 shooting overall and 2 of 8 on 3s.

Zegarowski, the Big East preseason player of the year, had struggled with his shot the previous three games. He made three 3s in the first half, including one that gave Creighton the lead for good. He also accounted for the prettiest play of the game when he drove baseline on Gillespie for a reverse layup.

Early in the second half, Zegarowski made a move to get Gillespie to go the other way, then swished a one-handed floater in the lane.