Number 10 Creighton capitalizes on 29 free throws to win 90-87

By Otis Kirk

No. 10 Creighton handed No. 9 Arkansas its first loss of the season 90-87 on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.

It was a game that saw Arkansas called for 22 fouls sending Creighton (5-0) to the line for 29 free throws. Arkansas put Creighton in the double bonus with 10:03 remaining in the game. Arkansas’ Eric Musselman was obviously very proud of his team, but disappointed in the officiating.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” Musselman said afterward. “I’ve never seen a foul count like that in all the time. I’ve coached a lot of games, a lot of years and never seen anything like it.”

The Hogs were without a made three-point basket in the first half and trailed 40-34 at intermission. The Razorbacks outscored Creighton 53-50 in the second half when eight three-point baskets fell.

“We couldn’t play any harder than what we played,” Musselman said. “Creighton is a great basketball team.”

For the second night in a row, Anthony Black was outstanding. Black scored 26 points to lead all scorers in the game. He also had six rebounds, a half dozen assists and two steals.

“Anthony has been unbelievable,” Musselman said. “We went to a middle pick and roll. We got good looks in the second half to score 53 points in the second half. But you can’t overcome what we saw.”

The Razorbacks still have one more game to play in Hawaii and eventually the SEC schedule plus some difficult non-conference games. One positive, though said in sarcasm, Musselman took away from Tuesday’s loss. “We will never face more adversity,” Musselman said. “I can’t see facing more adversity than we faced tonight.”

The game might have gone to overtime if not for a lane violation called against Jordan Walsh when Black made a free throw that would have pulled Arkansas to within 85-83 with 29 seconds remaining. Following that, Creighton’s Ry Kalkbrenner missed two free throws. Devo Davis then hit two free throws to pull Arkansas to within 85-84 in what would have been a tie game with 18 seconds remaining. Instead, the Hogs had to play the foul game and Creighton was 5 of 6 to close out the final 16 seconds.

Ricky Council IV added 24 points, three rebounds, a trio of assists and two steals for his second outstanding game in a row. Trevon Brazile came off the bench to add 17 points, six rebounds, two assists, a steal and three blocks. Davis added nine points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Arkansas shot 12 fewer free throws than Creighton, making 13 of 17. Arkansas shot 47 percent from the field compared to 58 for Creighton. Creighton was 7 of 14 from behind the three-point line while Arkansas shot 40 percent from long distance. The Hogs got outrebounded 35-31.

Ryan Nemhard led Creighton with 25 points, six rebounds and five assists. Kalkbrenner was next with 21 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Bey Scheierman added 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Trey Alexander had 12 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals. Arthur Kaluma had nine points, six rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals.

Arkansas (4-1) will play No. 17 San Diego State (4-1)  on Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. in the third-place game and televised on ESPN 2. San Diego State fell to Arizona 87-70 on Tuesday night in the late game.

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