After establishing a 10-point lead with just under seven minutes to go in the first half, the Missouri State Bears could not find their offensive swagger in the second half, ultimately falling to the Creighton Bluejays, 75-51.
Kyle Weems scored 15 points and had a career-high 12 rebounds to lead Missouri State, which grabbed a 21-11 advantage on a three-pointer by Weems at the 6:57 mark of the first period. It was the freshman Weems’ first double-double of the season.
Creighton then ran off 18 of the game’s next 21 points to lead 29-24 before the Bears closed out the half strong as Weems scored in transition, and Justin Fuehrmeyer hit a clutch jumper with the shot clock running out with just over a minute to go in the half to make it 29-28. Chris Cooks made the back end of a two-shot free throw with 59.5 seconds left to tie the game, 29-29, before a put-back dunk by Kenny Lawson helped CU regain a narrow lead at the intermission, 31-29.
The second half, however, was all Creighton as the Bluejays forced 10 turnovers and outscored the Bears 15-4 to start the second period and never looked back. Dana Altman’s squad led by as many as 24 points down the stretch, making good on 60-percent of its second-half field goal attempts to improve to 17-6 overall and 7-4 in the Valley.
The Bears (9-13, 2-9) also got 14 points from freshman Cardell McFarland, which tied a career high, including 6-for-6 at the line. Chris Cooks made just 4-of-14 shots but finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and matched McFarland with a team-high three assists.
MSU hit just 30.2 percent of its shots, matching a season-low 16 field goals, but were 83.3 percent (15-for-18) from the line.
Creighton finished the game with a 46.0 shooting effort (29-for-63) and converted 6-of-17 (.353) three-pointers, while outrebounding the Bears, 39-36. CU also had 38 points in the paint, compared to the Bears 18. Kenton Walker led four Bluejays in double figures with 15.
MSU now returns home for a pair of conference games at JQH Arena this week, including a 7:05 p.m. matchup Wednesday against Evansville at JQH Arena.