Kyle Weems’ lay-up with 14.2 seconds left lifted Missouri State to its 19th straight home win, a 67-66 victory over Creighton. The game was played before a national ESPN2 audience and 10,655 fans at JQH Arena, the second-largest crowd in the building’s history.
Creighton is now 13-8 (5-4 MVC), while Missouri State is now 16-4 (8-1 MVC) at the midway point of the league schedule.
Creighton started the game with a fury, scoring the first five points of the game on hoops by Gregory Echenique and Doug McDermott. After MSU’s Weems answered, Creighton got hoops by McDermott and Kaleb Korver to build a 10-2 lead. The Jays pushed that margin to double-figures on an Antoine Young drive, putting CU up 18-7 after just nine minutes.
In fact, Creghton would lead 23-11 before a player other than Weems would score for MSU, as Caleb Patterson threw down a one-handed jam with 8:27 to go in the opening half. Eighty seconds later, a Jermaine Mallett dunk in transition fired up the home fans and prompted a Bluejay timeout with CU leading 27-21.
Paced by nine points from McDermott, Creighton maintained its lead down the stretch of the first half and took a 35-29 intermission edge over the Bears.
After an Adam Leonard score on MSU’s first trip of the second half, Creighton uncorked an 11-0 run that included two foul shots each by Echenique and McDermott and seven straight from sophomore Josh Jones, going ahead 46-31.
MSU fought back with a 5-0 run that included a teardrop by Nafis Ricks and a three-point play from Will Creekmore, the big man’s first points of the contest, to get within 55-46. After a Young free throw, Mallett brought the JQH Arena crowd to its feet with a steal and breakaway dunk with 10:35 remaining and MSU trailing 55-48.
Clinging to a 60-53 lead with 7:30 left, Creighton held on for dear life. First Mallett missed a breakaway dunk, then Weems the deep three-pointer after a long rebound. The Jays would clear the rebound and quiet the crowd with a lay-up by Young.
Creekmore drained two foul shots to cut Creighton’s lead to 62-55 with 6;04 left. Following a Bluejay turnover, Weems would rise up in traffic for a 10-footer, bringing MSU within five with 5:15 to go, before Young put back his own blocked shot to return the Bluejay lead to seven. MSU’s Adam Leonard answered Young’s score to make it a five-point game with 4:30 to go. After a Korver miss, Weems pulled up in transition to bring MSU within 64-61, its closest since an early 10-7 hole.
MSU would rebound a Bluejay miss and head into the final media timeout down 64-61 with 3:31 to play. Ricks would be fouled and sink two with 3:14 left. After CU was held scoreless, Mallett would miss but Ricks was fouled on an offensive rebound. He missed the front end of a 1-and-1, keeping CU up one heading into the final two minutes. After a CU miss, Ricks drove inside, only to have Echenique swat it right back for his sixth rejection of the afternoon.
Darryl Ashford would drive the hoop and be hacked, missing both free throws with 1:34 left. MSU called timeout with 1:28 to play and worked the ball to Mallett, who dropped in a floater wtih 1:13 left that gave the Bears their first lead at 65-64. CU hurried downcourt, feeding the ball to McDermott, who made an eight-footer with 43.4 ticks left to put CU up one point.
On MSU’s next trip, Creekmore would be blocked by Echenique, and Korver secured the rebound while being fouled with 27.5 left. The senior then missed his first free throw of the year on the front-end of a bonus situation, giving MSU one last possession. Leonard would miss his shot, but the Bears kept the ball thanks to the possession arrow. The Bears ran an inbounds play that freed up Weems, who Ricks fed for an easy lay-in from the left block with 13.3 left.
Creighton never got a shot off in the final seconds. Mallett would poke the ball away from Young near half-court, and MSU recovered the loose ball. The Bears then played keep-away in the final seconds, much to the delight of the raucous crowd, as time expired.
Young led CU with 18 points, including 11 in the second half, while McDermott had his second straight double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Echenique had 10 points, seven rebounds and a career-high seven blocked shots. The Jays shot an even 50 percent for the game, making 26-of-52 attempts, and were 6-of-15 from downtoan and 8-of-12 at the line.
MSU was paced by 23 points and 12 rebounds by two-time reigning MVC Player of the Week Weems, and Mallett tallied 14 points. The Bears shot 42.4 percent for the game and won despite 2-of-12 accuracy from distance (16.7 percent). MSU was 9-of-10 at the line.
Story courtesy of Creighton athletics