Missouri State used a 17-0 run midway through the second half and never trailed in a 70-52 win over visiting Creighton in men’s basketball action on Saturday night before 9,101 fans at JQH Arena.
Creighton, which shot a school-record 66.7 percent in Wednesday’s win over Evansville, made just 36.5 percent of its shots while allowing the Bears to shoot 50.9 percent from the field.
Missouri State improved to 16-8 and is now 6-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Creighton dropped to 12-12 and is 7-6 in the MVC.
Creighton never led, falling behind by as much as 25-11 in the first half after a 7-0 Bears run. CU would put together a 9-2 run to get within 27-20, then miss a pair of open three-point looks. It would be as close as it got the rest of the night.
CU was beaten in nearly every category during the first half, shooting just 38.5 percent from the field (10-26), 12.5 percent from three-point range (1-8) and 50 percent from the line (3-6). By comparison, MSU shot 46.7 percent from the floor (14-30), 30 percent from downtown (3-10) and hit 4-of-6 at the line (66.7 percent). The Bears also outrebounded CU 20-14 and forced eight Bluejay turnovers. Kenny Lawson Jr. led the Jays with six points at the break, while Adam Leonard and Will Creekmore both scored eight for the hosts.
Down just 41-30, Missouri State created some insurance on its lead with a 17-0 flurry. Kyle Weems drained a three-pointer and Keith Pickens made a foul shot to give MSU a 15-point lead. Little-used Ryan Jehle scored on a lay-up inside before Nafis Ricks scored in transition and prompt a Creighton timeout. Will Creekmore also added to the run with a free-throw as MSU’s lead reached 20 with 12:36 remaining. Justin Fuehrmeyer added four straight points before a Creekmore score and Weems steal and slam pushed MSU’s lead to 58-30, its largest of the night.
Creighton would go 7:05 without a field goal during that drought, three days after going 28-of-42 from the field.
The Jays made a push to trim the deficit to 60-43 at the 4:00 mark, but Mallett would sink a jumper and put an end to CU’s surge.
MSU had four players in double-figures, led by 13 from Creekmore, 12 from Fuehrmeyer. Weems and Leonard each scored 11. MSU shot 50.9 percent from the field, 31.3 percent from downtown and 9-of-18 at the line (50 percent).
Creighton was paced by 15 points from Kenny Lawson Jr., while Josh Jones had 10 off the bench. CU shot 36.5 percent from the field, 19.0 percent from downtown (4-21) and just 10-of-17 at the line (58.8 percent).