Ballo, no. 14 Arizona beat no. 10 Creighton for Maui title – KGET 17

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) – Oumar Ballo dominated inside with 30 points and 13 rebounds for No. 14 Arizona, which held off No. 10 Creighton 81-79 on Wednesday to win the Maui Invitational for the third time.

The combination of the unstoppable 7-foot-2, 260-pound Ball and his speedy, talented supporting cast was just enough to keep the Wildcats (6-0) undefeated. Kerr Kriisa added 13 points and nine assists, Azoulas Tubelis 12 and Courtney Remy 10. Arizona scored its final points with 2:21 to play, but was able to hang on.

Ryan Nembhard scored 20 points for Creighton (6-1), which was trying to beat a ranked opponent for the third straight day. Ryan Kalkbrenner added 16 points, Trey Alexander 15, and Baylor Scheierman 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Arizona appeared to pull away late, but the Bluejays kept rolling.

Scheierman made a layup with 2:41 left to pull Creighton within 79-72, but Kriisa made a beautiful pass to Ball for a dunk and an 81-72 lead with 2:21 left. He was fouled but missed the free throw.

Nembhard made a layup and Scheierman made a 3-pointer to bring Creighton within 81-77. Kalkbrenner made one of two free throws to cut the deficit to three. Ramey missed a 3-point attempt with 18 seconds left.

Creighton called a timeout with 7.4 seconds left to set up the final play. Kalkbrenner didn’t have an open 3 and passed to Nembhard, who was fouled by Ramey with 2 seconds left. He hit the first shot and intentionally missed the second, and Arizona rebounded.

Ballo was strong from the start, pouring in 16 points and nine rebounds in the first half to help the Wildcats take a 39-30 lead.


Creighton: The Bluejays reached the title game by defeating No. 21 Texas Tech in the first round and stopping no. 9 Arkansas in the semifinals.

Arizona: The Wildcats also won the Maui Invitational in 2000 and 2014. Coach Tommy Lloyd was part of two Maui titles as a Gonzaga assistant in 2009 and 2018.


Creighton plays at No. 4 Texas on Dec. 1 in the Big 12-Big East Battle.

Arizona opens Pac-12 play at Utah on Dec. 1.


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