KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Baylor Scheierman knocked down a 3-pointer to open Creighton's game against Loyola Chicago on Wednesday, turned to the crowd inside T-Mobile Center and promptly blew it a kiss.

He could just as well have been kissing the Ramblers goodbye.

Scheierman went on to score 24 points with 12 rebounds, Ryan Kalkbrenner hit four rare 3-pointers and finished with 29 points, and the eighth-ranked Bluejays cruised in the second half to an 88-65 victory in the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Classic.

“I think it's just I end up finding my spots in the offense. I don't really force it too much,” Scheierman said. “My teammates were able to find me in my spots. I got loose for a few and started to feel pretty good.”

Steven Ashworth added 10 points for the Bluejays (5-0), who will try for their first in-season tournament title since the 2018 Cayman Islands Classic when they play Colorado State on Thursday. The Rams beat Boston College in their semifinal.

Des Watson had 15 points to lead the Ramblers (2-3). Braden Norris finished with 14.

“I think we did a pretty good job for a while,” Loyola assistant coach Sean Dwyer said. “Then the doors kind of came off."

Indeed, they could have come off right at the start. Scheierman hit five 3s in total in the first half, punctuating each with more kisses and a little trash talk, and he had 21 points by the time the Bluejays took a 45-37 lead into the locker room.

His hot start opened things up for the 7-foot-1 Kalkbrenner, who added two 3s and 15 first-half points of his own.

Yet the Ramblers, who made the NCAA Tournament two years ago but fell to 10-21 last season, continued to put up a fight. They survived a 16-3 run midway through the first half, then scored the last couple of baskets to keep it close at halftime.

It didn't stay that way, though.

Isaac Traudt and Francisco Farabello hit 3-pointers early in the second half. Kalkbrenner began to assert himself inside, then added two more 3s - he hit only six all of last season. And by the time Ashworth connected on consecutive 3s, the Bluejays had stretched their lead past 20 and were able to coast to the finish.

“We switched up a little bit what we were doing defensively in the second half. We were a little more aggressive on some of their cuts,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott explained. “I thought our guys executed well. We cleaned up our turnovers in the second half, and we rebounded better in the second half.”


The Bluejays played without forward Mason Miller, who remained at the team hotel with an illness. He had started their first four games and was averaged 7.3 points. McDermott called him “doubtful” for the championship game.


Loyola could use sophomore Jayden Dawson finding some rhythm after missing nearly half of a promising freshman season to a hand injury. He was just 1 of 10 from the field and scored three points against the Bluejays.

Creighton has enough depth that it can handle one of its stars having a sluggish shooting performance. Trey Alexander, who led them at 21 points per game, managed just eight on 3-for-13 shooting Wednesday.


Loyola Chicago will play the Eagles in the third-place game Thursday.

Creighton will play the Rams for the championship.


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