Coming off a 1-1 road swing this week, Missouri State returns to JQH Arena tonight to host the Creighton Bluejays in a nationally-televised game on ESPN2. The first-place Bears are tied with Indiana State atop the Missouri Valley Conference standings after a last-second loss in Terre Haute on Wednesday.
Nafis Ricks led the Bears with 17 points, including 10 in the second half, and matched a career high with nine rebounds. Jermaine Mallett added 14 points. Ricks and Mallett combined to go 14-for-15 from the free throw line as the Bears shot a season-best 87.5 percent (21-for-24) at the charity stripe.
MSU led 69-65 with 51 seconds left in the game, but fell victim two a pair of untimely foul calls in the final 43 seconds, including a three-point play with less than a second on the clock to steal a win for the Sycamores.
Creighton snapped a two-game losing streak Wednesday with an 81-68 home win over Bradley. Newcomers Doug McDermott and Gregory Echenique led five Bluejays in double figures with 17 points apiece. CU shot 58.7 percent from the field with 10 threes, while Antoine Young tied a Qwest Center record with 10 assists.
Creighton leads the all-time series, 30-25, but the Bears have won the last three meetings, including a 67-55 win over the Bluejays on Jan. 4 in Omaha.