The Jays galloped their way toward midfield with a purpose Saturday night, even though their opponent was still celebrating its go-ahead goal off a momentum-flipping penalty kick in the 84th minute.

Creighton’s players clapped and nodded at one another. They shouted words of encouragement.

Their season was on the line — but then again, they’ve played with this feeling for months now. So what was another six-plus minutes?

And the Bluejays certainly found a way to respond — their ferocious attack late created a couple quality looks. But No. 5 seed Butler (11-6-1) withstood the rally and earned the 1-0 win, likely ending Creighton’s season in the opening round of the Big East tournament at Morrison Stadium.

“These guys have had their backs to the wall all year,” Creighton coach Johnny Torres said. “I didn’t expect them to go away after that penalty kick goal. But it wasn’t our night.”

And that made it even tougher for Creighton’s players to swallow afterward.

They’d been barreling through adverse moments since August, refusing to fold as they embraced the optimistic presumption that their resilience would get rewarded in the end. There were four season-ending injuries to key contributors. At least three starters missed extended time. They were down to 13 available players at one point.

Yet they kept pushing.

“There’s been a sense, kind of an unspoken sense, in the locker room that this means everything — to every player, whether it’d be their first or their last season,” senior defender Bryce Gibson said before the match. “That is something special.”

It was revealed in freshman Jake Ashford, who midway through the season elected to burn his redshirt and play out of position as a forward. He had the game-winner last weekend.

It showed up in a gutsy Yudai Tashiro. Despite his aching shoulder, the senior midfielder launched headfirst to guide the ball into the back of the net for a goal against Georgetown earlier this week.

It was there in the ever-hustling and ever-durable veterans Luke Haakenson and Kuba Polat, who’ve been on the field for roughly 97% of CU’s total minutes this year. They linked up for the DePaul game-winner, which ended Creighton’s three-match losing streak last month and renewed hope that the Jays could still peak in the playoffs.

“I told the guys (before Saturday’s game), ‘Regardless of what happens from this point forward, I couldn’t be more proud of this group,’ ” Torres said.

But they weren’t able to enjoy a storybook ending.

The Jays (8-7-2) likely will miss the NCAA tournament for the third straight season. They’ve been bounced from the Big East tournament in the first round three years in a row, as well.

The disappointment was evident Saturday — the seniors huddled together on the field well after the match had ended. The agony will surely linger for this group, too, given how Butler seized control.

The Bluejays were whistled for a hand ball in the box during the 84th minute. It appeared that Haakenson, as he jumped to try to defend a Butler free kick, extended his right arm in front of his face and made contact with the ball. Butler freshman Wilmer Cabrera Jr. converted the penalty kick.

No. 4 seed Creighton had two corner kicks and two shots after that — one hit the side-netting — but it couldn’t deliver the equalizer.

“They showed so much courage that I always wanted to make sure we had another opportunity to come back,” Torres said. “Just not our night.”

Butler (11-6-1).............0 1—1

At Creighton (8-7-2)....0 0—0

Goals: BU, Cabrera.