CHICAGO — Creighton, playing without its star senior, rallied from a 20-point halftime deficit and stunned No. 11 DePaul in a 63-61 thriller Friday night.

In one of the most improbable rallies during coach Jim Flanery’s 18-year tenure, Creighton snapped the Blue Demons’ 10-game winning streak and picked up the program’s first-ever victory over a top-11 opponent. The Bluejays (14-7, 6-4 Big East) did it all without leading scorer Jaylyn Agnew, who’s missed the last four games with injury.

“It was a pretty special win,” Flanery said by phone Friday. “I don’t know that we played great, but I thought we were unbelievably gritty. It would have been easy to roll over and feel sorry for ourselves.”

At halftime, especially.

The Jays trailed 41-21 at the break. They were in danger of losing for the fifth time in seven games — although much of this recent stretch has been defined by injuries and lineup changes. Eight Jays have logged at least one start in league play.

Entering Friday’s game, DePaul hadn’t lost in almost two months — its previous loss was to UConn. And the Blue Demons appeared to be locked in early against Creighton, scoring the game’s first 11 points Friday and building a 20-5 lead after the first quarter.

Yet the Jays kept pushing.

Senior guard Olivia Elger, who finished with 28 points, made three of her seven 3-pointers in a momentum-changing third quarter. Creighton used a 25-8 surge during those 10 minutes to put itself in position to pull off the upset.

In the fourth, Creighton went ahead 63-57 with 3:08 left before DePaul made one final run. The Blue Demons (19-3, 9-1) converted two free throws, recorded a steal and finished off a layup to make it 63-61 in the final minute.

But Bluejay freshman Carly Bachelor blocked Kelly Campbell’s driving layup — which would have tied the game — with five seconds remaining. Elger grabbed the loose ball rebound and the Jays ran the clock out from there.

“I thought defensively we did some really good things to come away with the win,” Flanery said.

DePaul made just five of its 28 field goal attempts after halftime. It missed all eight of its second-half 3-point tries. The Blue Demons also committed nine turnovers in the final 20 minutes.

Creighton took advantage, and it benefited from contributions across the roster, according to Flanery.

Bachelor’s ball-handling skills helped the Jays handle DePaul’s defensive pressure. Sophomore Rachael Saunders played the entire fourth quarter in her first game back from injury. Junior Tatum Rembao, who returned to the lineup last weekend following a leg injury, scored all nine of her points in the second half.

But Elger’s performance made the ultimate difference. Her 28 points, seven 3-pointers and four steals were all career highs. She added seven rebounds.

“Liv was the key,” Flanery said. “She got really confident. I thought she was in the zone.”

Creighton will return to action Sunday when it plays at Marquette.

Creighton (14-7, 6-4).... 5 16 25 17—63

At DePaul (19-3, 9-1).... 20 21 8 ​12—61

CU: Griglione 1-1 0-0 2, Rembao 2-10 4-6 9, Elger 9-17 3-6 28, Bachelor 3-6 3-4 9, Carda 5-11 0-0 11, Saunders 2-2 0-1 4, Dworak 0-1 0-0 0, Pryor 0-2 0-0 0, Parham 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 22-53 10-17 63.

DPU: Held 4-14 2-4 11, Morris 2-10 0-0 4, Campbell 1-4 3-4 6, Stonewall 8-18 3-3 20, Church 3-6 1-1 7, Stovall 1-2 0-0 2, Bekelja 4-9 2-2 11, Dallmann 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 23-64 11-14 61.

3-point field goals: CU 9-16 (Rembao 1-2, Elger 7-10, Carda 1-3, Pryor 0-1), DPU 4-20 (Held 1-5, Morris 0-4, Campbell 1-3, Stonewall 1-1, Stovall 0-1, Bekelja 1-5, Dallmann 0-1).

Rebounds: CU 34 (Bachelor 9), DPU 44 (Stonewall 14). Assists: CU 12 (Rembao 4), DPU 8 (Campbell 3).


2010s Creighton basketball all-decade team

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