No. 13 Creighton (16-1, 6-0 MVC) got a JQH Arena record 39 points from Doug McDermott, including 28 in the second half, to push the visiting Bluejays past Missouri State here Friday night (Jan. 11), 74-52, in Missouri Valley Conference action.
The Bears (5-12, 3-2) were led by Keith Pickens with 11 points, while Anthony Downing and Gavin Thurman scored 10 apiece.
MSU held serve in the first half to force four ties and 10 lead changes, but let the visitors go into the intermission with a 4-0 run before the break. Creighton collected a 3-pointer by Jahenns Manigat with 35 seconds left in the opening stanza to give CU a 32-27 advantage at the midway point.
Creighton let McDermott take over from there. The junior tallied Creighton’s first 18 points of the second half, pushing the visitors ahead 50-32 just over seven minutes into the second period. He made 10-of-11 field goal attempts in the second period alone and 15-of-19 for the game, to hand the Omaha club its 10th straight victory.
The Bears kept clawing and used the energy of its largest home drawing of the season to cut their deficit to 13 with just over eight minutes left to go. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Nathan Scheer and Michael Simpson made the score 57-44 at the time. But as it did all night, the visitors rallied behind McDermott who knocked down a trey and later made all three free throws from a touch perimeter shooting foul to push the Jays back ahead by 21 just two-and-a-half minutes later.
MSU held Creighton to just one field goal in the final 3:38, and got its final two scores from freshmen Simpson and Bruce Marshall to close out a frustrating second period.
The Bears were out-rebounded by a 35-22 margin on the night, but collected 10 caroms on the offensive end, including four by Pickens. Coach Paul Lusk’s squad finished 22-for-58 (.379) from the field, with 11 field goals in each half, and a disappointing 5-for-23 (.217) from 3-point range. MSU got to the foul line just four times, making three, with the Jays committing just 10 fouls. MSU also had just eight turnovers and collected five steals.
Nine Missouri State players scored, including 19 collective points from the five freshman in uniform.Marcus Marshall sat out with an ankle sprain.
Manigat was the only other CU player to score in double figures as he knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points. McDermott also made three 3-pointers on the night and tallied a game-high 10 rebounds. The highest-ranked team to ever visit Missouri State finished 27-for-47 (.574) from the field and improved on its national-best 3-point percentage with 9-of-17 (.529) from long range. The Jays took advantage of 11-of-13 free throws and committed 13 turnovers.
In the first half, Missouri State put together a 9-0 run midway through the half to keep pace. After a dunk by Creighton’s Avery Dingman at the 11:17 mark put the Missouri Valley preseason favorites ahead 14-9, Dingman was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim. Downing made both technical shots, and the Bears tacked on seven points in a row from there over the next three minutes. A layup by Christian Kirk was followed by a 3-pointer by Tomie Aromona and a 20-footer by Pickens.
After a trey by Thurman pushed Missouri State ahead 25-23 with 3:45 to play, Creighton ended the half on a 9-2 run, including the final four points.
Missouri State will enter week 3 of conference play in at least a tie for fifth place when it resumes action Wednesday at Indiana State (6:05 p.m., Central). The Sycamores are 10-5 overall and 3-1 in the league headed into a Saturday road game at Southern Illinois.