DENVER — Ryan Nembhard had 30 points and No. 6 seed Creighton found his shooting touch to beat third-seeded Baylor 85-76 Sunday night to earn a spot in the Sweet 16 for the second time in three seasons.
With Baylor heavily focused on containing big man Ryan Kalkbrenner, Nembhard and the Bluejays went to work from the outside. They shot 45.8% from 3-point range after going 3-for-20 in their first-round win against North Carolina State. They also went 22-of-22 from the free throw line, including 10-of-10 by Nembhard.
The Bluejays (23-12) will meet 15th seed Princeton in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday in the NCAA Tournament. Princeton reached the Southern Region semifinals with wins over Arizona and Missouri.
LJ Cryer finished with 30 points for Baylor (23-11), who lost in the second round for the second straight year after winning the championship in 2021. Big 12 Freshman of the Year Keyonte George was held to seven points, well below his average of 15.6. George is projected as a potential lottery winner should he decide to leave after this season.
Leading by double digits, the Bluejays extended the lead — and pumped up the crowd — on back-to-back threes by Francisco Farabello and Nembhard.
The Bears cut it to 79-70 with about 3 minutes left, but turnovers kept them from getting any closer.
Trey Alexander added 17 points, Arthur Kaluma 11 and Kalkbrenner had 10.
Nembhard, whose brother, Andrew, plays for the Indiana Pacers, was 4 of 6 from 3-point range. His previous high was 25 against Arkansas on Nov. 22.
This could be significant for Creighton: The Bears have lost four times to the eventual national champion (1946, 1948, 2010 and 2012) and to runner-up North Carolina last season.
Creighton: Improved to 18-24 all-time in the tournament.
Baylor: The Bears are 19-10 in the NCAA Tournament under head coach Scott Drew.
Not very recent between Creighton and Princeton. The Jays beat the Tigers 63-54 on December 29, 1961.