No. 16 Creighton vs. Illinois State final score: Bluejays survive upset bid in 73-70 win

US PRESSWIRE

Creighton narrowly escaped Illinois State for its seventh straight win and 13th overall in a battle of birds Wednesday night.

In a rematch of last season's Missouri Valley Conference championship game, Creighton once again came out on top.

Trading leads back-and-forth over the entire game, the No.16 Bluejays came close to dropping their second MVC game of the season, but ultimately held off the Redbirds in a 73-70 win. For Creighton, the win was the first of 2013 and the seventh straight overall.

The Redbirds had a chance late after a free throw by Kaza Keane got Illinois State (9-5, 0-2 MVC) within one, 69-68. But Keane bricked his second free throw, and after a Creighton layup, Illinois State's Jackie Carmichael missed the first shot of a one-and-one. The teams traded missed shots before Doug McDermott pushed the lead to five with a layup. Carmichael got it within three again after putting back his own missed layup with 54 seconds left, and Illinois State had a final late chance to tie the game after a turnover by Jahenns Manigat. But Carmichael's three-point attempt was off the mark, and Creighton (13-1, 2-0) iced the game at the free-throw line.

Grant Gibbs was all over the court for Creighton, scoring 16 points, pulling down six rebounds — including a few important defensive rebounds late — and dishing out seven assists. Ethan Wragge, meanwhile, was unstoppable behind the arc, hitting six threes to account for his 18 points. For Illinois State, Tyler Brown and Bryant Allen each scored 15 points. Poor shooting hampered the Redbirds from the floor and the line; the team hit only 42 percent of its shots and 5-of-10 free throws.

Creighton will continue its MVC schedule on Jan. 8 against Drake. Tip-off will be at 8:05 pm ET.

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