Creighton Outlasts Illinois State, 75-59
Justin Clark
Justin Clark

Feb. 16, 2011

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OMAHA, Neb. - Creighton used a 7-0 run to end the first half and a 5-0 run to open the second to down Illinois State, 75-59, despite Austin Hill's second-straight 20-point scoring game, in a Missouri Valley Conference contest at the Qwest Center Omaha Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 14,702.

The Redbirds, who were without the services of their leading scorer Jackie Carmichael, dropped to 11-16 on the season and 3-12 in league play. Carmichael didn't make the trip to Omaha, Neb., due to flu-like symptoms and the Illinois State post players shot a combined 3-for-21 from the field. Creighton improved to 17-11 on the season and 9-7 in the Valley.

Hill paced the Redbirds with a game-high and career-best 27 points, including 20 of Illinois State's 34 second-half points. Justin Clark added 12 points, his highest scoring total since the Nov. 28 game against Jacksonville State. Jon Ekey collected his 47th block of the season in the second half, which set the Illinois State freshman standard for blocked shots in a season. Creighton was led by Doug McDermott's 18 points, while Josh Jones tossed in 15 and Antoine Young chipped in 11.

The Redbirds played inspired basketball out of the gate and jumped out to 7-2 lead with 15:43 left in the half, thanks to five points from Hill. However, Hill was given a technical foul for taunting after his made drive and Creighton responded with a 6-0 run to take an 8-7 lead at the 14:09 mark.

After a three-point basket from Anthony Cousin, Trey Blue added a traditional three-point play and the Redbirds held a 15-10 lead at the 12:04 mark. Again Creighton responded, this time with an 8-2 run and took an 18-17 lead with 8:41 left in the half. ISU's Clark fired in eight-straight points, his most since the Jacksonville State game on Nov. 28, 2010, but the Bluejays had an answer every time and the game was knotted, 25-25, at the 4:09 mark. Creighton ended the half on a 7-0 run, including a three-point basket by Kaleb Korver with three seconds left in the half, and led 32-25 at the half.

Creighton pushed the total run to 12-0, after opening the second half on a 5-0 spurt. Back-to-back baskets by Hill brought the Redbirds to within six points, 37-31, with 15:58 remaining. The Bluejays' McDermott sank a pair of shots and pushed the lead back to 10 at 41-31, with 13:38 left.

Hill kept the Redbirds close by scoring 16-straight ISU points, but Creighton still held a 59-43 edge with 6:05 left. The Redbirds were unable to get the deficit less than 12 points before the final buzzer.

Illinois State continues its road swing Saturday, when the Redbirds step out of Valley play to face Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, Mich., in a non-conference contest created by the Sears BracketBusters concept. The game tips at 1 p.m. CST.

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