Doug McDermott had 16 points and 16 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as Akron got a season-high 21 points from senior reserve Brett McKnight as the Zips won 76-67 over visiting Creighton on Saturday. The game was part of the ninth annual BracketBusters series.
Akron won its fifth straight game to improve to 17-10 on the season, while Creighton dropped to 17-12 and had a two-game win streak expire.
The following is from GoCreighton.com
Creighton led the majority of the first half, but found itself down 32-31 at intermission after the Zips closed the period with a 9-3 run. McDermott (10 points, 7 rebounds) and Gregory Echenique (8 points, 7 rebounds) did their best inside, as Creighton also owned a 22-14 advantage on the glass at half. Akron was led by eight points from McKnight in the first half.
The teams traded the lead 12 times in the first 30 minutes with Akron leading 47-44 at the midpoint of the second half. The Zips received a boost when reserve Mike Bardo (1.0 ppg.) made the most of a third-shot opportunity, laying is own miss for a three-point paly that made it 50-46 with 8:22 left. Down five under eight minutes, senior Wayne Runnels drove the lane and threw down his first dunk of the season. But McKnight gave a spark off the bench with seven straight points, including a trey from the head of the key to give Akron a 57-49 margin. McKnight later hit a fadeway jumper off an inbounds pass to make it 59-52 with 5:45 remaining, only to have CU’s Jahenns Manigat answer with a trey. In all, Akron’s reserves would score 16 consecutive points for Zips as they stretched their lead from 45-44 to 63-56 in the process between scores by Nikola Cvetinovic.
Down seven at the final media timeout, Creighton scored three points on a free throw by Antoine Young and a hoop after Kenny Lawson Jr. snared the offensive rebound when Young missed the second. Akron’s Steve McNees hit two free throws, only to have CU’s Manigat answer those with two of his own with 2:31 left. After a turnover, CU came up empty, and Nikola Cvetinovic hit two at the line with 1:36 left.
The Jays called timeout and found Echenique inside, who scored to make it a 67-63 Akron lead with 1:18 to go. With 1:05 left Manigat was called for his third foul among much dispute, and McNees sank two foul shots. Jones countered with two at the line with 55.2 left for CU. Cvetinovic returned the favor with one free throw as 53.5 remained to go up five. The Jays got an open look from Young behind the arc, who missed as McNees got the rebound with 38.8 seconds left. McNees sank both shots, and Quincy Diggs two more with 27.6 to go, as Akron iced its win with a free-throw shooting clinic in the waning minutes.
McDermott led Creighton with 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Young (13), Echenique (12) and Lawson (10) also scored in double-figures for CU. Creighton outrebounded Akron 42-32, but shot just 38.3 percent and matched a season-high with 17 turnovers.
Akron was led by 21 from McKnight and 19 by Cvetinovic. The Zips made 17-of-20 free throws in the second half and were 21-of-24 for the game. The Zips reserve corps outscored Creighton, 39-17 on the game. Akron shot 43.3 percent for th day and were 3-of-9 from downtown.
Creighton closes the regular-season with a return to Missouri Valley Conference play next week. The Bluejays visit Valley co-leader Wichita State on Wednesday