OMAHA, Neb. -- Indiana State came extremely close to downing No. 11/16 Creighton in front of 17,694 fans at Century Link Center Omaha but the 'Jays pulled away late in the second half to take the 79-66 victory.
ISU fell to 9-5, 2-1 MVC while Creighton improved to 14-1, 3-0 MVC. The Sycamores fell for the 14th time in a row in Omaha and saw their three game winning streak come to and end.
The Sycamores were led in scoring by Manny Arop and Jake Odum, who scored 13 points. Justin Gant reached double figures scoring for the third consecutive MVC contest with 12 points.
Indiana State shot 59.1 percent in the second half from the field but Creighton shot well for the game (55.1 percent) and 11-of-22 from 3-point range (50 percent).
Doug McDermott scored the first five points of the second half for the Bluejays as Creighton raced out to a 32-29 lead less than a minute after the half, which saw the two teams tied at 27. Arop and Odum hit back-to-back 3-pointers to move the Sycamores ahead 35-32 to start a 10-0 run which was capped by a Justin Gant lay-up at the 17:31 mark and ISU held a 39-32 advantage.
Creighton used back-to-back 3-pointers to level the score at 40 and actually led 41-40 before Devonte Brown hit a lay-up at the 14:48 mark to reestablish a 42-41 advantage. Mahurin came right back with an easy basket in the paint to score five points in a row and take a 44-41 lead.
Creighton got a conventional 3-point play to tie the game at 46 before Manny Arop buried a contested trey to give the Sycamores a 49-46 lead at the 12:12 mark.
After the Jays used a 7-0 run to stake itself to a 56-51 lead, Odum hit a free throw with 8:36 remaining to get within 56-52. The Creighton lead would grow to 65-53 on the strength of a 16-2 run. Gant broke a dry spell of over six minutes to cut the Bluejay lead down to 65-55 before the 'Jays and Gant exchanged triples around the four minute mark to make it 68-58. Odum then followed up a defensive stop with a lay-up plus a free throw with 3:24 remaining which further trimmed the Bluejay advantage down to 68-61.
For the third consecutive game, Justin Gant opened the Sycamores' scoring with a 3-pointer -- this one at the 16:39 mark of the first half to even the game at 3-3. Jake Odum hit a pair of free throws with 14:13 on the clock to give Indiana State its first lead at 7-6.
Doug McDermott hit a 3-pointer with 13:48 on the clock to stake the Bluejays to a 13-9 advantage but Devonte Brown answered with a trey of his own and the converted a lay-up to complete a personal 5-0 run and give the Sycamores a 14-13 lead. Creighton came right back with a 5-0 spurt of their own before Jake Kitchell drilled two free throws to cut the lead down to just 18-16.
Manny Arop hit a jumper in the paint as the clock ticked down below six minutes to cut the Creighton lead down to 21-20. After a Bluejay turnover, Odum banked in one to push the Sycamores ahead at 22-21 and then Brown got a steal in transition and converted a pair of charity tosses as the Sycamores got a quick 6-0 run to take a 24-21 lead. Dawon Cummings extended the lead to 27-21 with a trey at the 3:16 mark and moved the run to 9-0.
Creighton ended the first half with a 6-0 run as the Sycamores missed their final seven field goal attempts as the two teams entered the half knotted at 27. Devonte Brown led the team with seven points at the half. The Sycamores owned a 11-2 edge in second chance points before halftime on the strength of eight offensive rebounds.
Doug McDermott lead Creighton with 25 points.
Indiana State returns to action on Wednesday, January 9 when they they host Bradley at 7:05 p.m. (ET).