Booth, ’Nova come back to beat Creighton

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Eric Ol­son

OMAHA, NEB. >> Phil Booth scored 19 of his 28 points af­ter half­time to ig­nite Vil­lanova’s surge as the Wild­cats came from be­hind again to beat Creighton 90-78 on Sun­day.

Booth made all four of his 3-point­ers in the sec­ond half and scored eight straight points early in a 26-6 spurt that turned Vil­lanova’s 47-38 deficit into a 64-53 lead with 9 ½ min­utes left. The Blue­jays had two scor­ing droughts of more than 4 min­utes as Vil­lanova (13-4, 4-0 Big East) pulled away.

For the Blue­jays (10-7, 1-3), the loss came af­ter they twice led by nine and fol­lowed their crush­ing over­time home loss to No. 21 Mar­quette on Wed­nes­day. In that game, they gave up a Big East-record 53 points to Markus Howard and blew a three-point lead with less than a sec­ond left in reg­u­la­tion.

The de­fend­ing cham­pion Wild­cats con­tinue to show their tough­ness, com­ing back from size­able deficits for the third time in four games. They trailed by 13 be­fore beat­ing No. 24 St. John’s on Tues­day and by 14 in a win over DePaul on Jan. 2.

Eric Paschall had 21 points, Collin Gille­spie made four 3s while scor­ing 14, and Jer­maine Sa­muels, mak­ing his first start since Novem­ber, added 13 for the Wild­cats.

Ty-Shawn Alexan­der made five 3-point­ers and scored 17 of his 22 points in the first half as Creighton got out to a nine-point lead. The Blue­jays were up nine again early in the sec­ond, at 47-38, be­fore Vil­lanova stormed back.

Booth led the Wild­cats to their first lead since the open­ing four min­utes af­ter Paschall con­verted a nice pass in the lane from Gille­spie to start cut­ting into the Blue­jays’ nine-point lead.

Booth made three free throws af­ter Mitch Bal­lock fouled him as he at­tempted a 3-pointer and then a jumper and 3-pointer to put Vil­lanova up 48-47 with 16:36 left.

Sa­muels con­verted a 3-point play af­ter his strong dunk over big man Martin Kram­pelj to make it a 13-0 run for Vil­lanova.

The Blue­jays got it back to 51-all as Davion Mintz hit two free throws and Marus Ze­garowski made a layup to end a scor­ing drought longer than four min­utes. Then Alexan­der’s bas­ket gave Creighton the lead.

But Booth made back-to­back 3s, Gille­spie hit from deep, Jer­maine Sa­muels had a dunk put­back of Sad­diq Bey’s missed dunk and then Bey suc­cess­ful dunked to close a 13-0 spurt that made it an 11-point game for Vil­lanova.

Kram­pelj had 14 points and 10 re­bounds for the Blue­jays and Bal­lock had 13 points.

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