By Travis Morgan
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Northern Iowa used an 18-6 run to end regulation to knock off Creighton men's basketball 61-54 at the McLeod Center on Wednesday evening.
Creighton (20-6, 9-5 MVC) held its largest lead of 48-43 with 5:27 left in the game after a dunk by Gregory Echenique. Back-to-back scores by UNI's Jake Koch tied it at 49-49 at the 3:43 mark before the Panthers took back the lead for good on a three-pointer from Matt Bohannon.
Koch would score UNI's final nine points to lead his team to victory.
Doug McDermott led the Bluejays with his 27th career double-double and seventh this season. McDermott ended the game with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Grant Gibbs finished with 14 points and Echenique posted 11 points for his 13th double-digit scoring effort of the year.
Creighton shot 43.8 percent (21-of-48) from the field to 37.5 percent for UNI (21-of-56) in the game. But the Panthers made 15-of-19 attempts at the free throw line while the Bluejays sank just 5-of-14.
With the win, Northern Iowa improved to 15-11 overall and 8-6 in the MVC.
Creighton led 8-6 early in the first half after five straight points from McDermott. But UNI took over the lead for good in the first half after a 7-0 run fueled by multiple CU turnovers and five fouls in the first eight minutes. Another five-point spurt from McDermott cut the Panther lead down to one at 18-17 at the under-eight timeout but UNI outscored the Bluejays 14-8 the rest of the half to take a 32-25 lead into the locker room.
Each team made 10 field goals from the field in the first half, but the Panthers capitalized at the free throw line making 10-of-13 attempts while Creighton went 0-for-2 at the line. UNI forced CU into 10 turnovers and converted the miscues into 12 points in the first 20 minutes. The Jays made just two points on four UNI turnovers. McDermott led all scorers with a dozen points at the half.
Thanks in part to an 8-0 run early in the second half the Bluejays tied the game at 41-41 after a layup from Grant Gibbs. Soon after, Will Artino gave Creighton its first lead since 8-6 early in the first half with a CU's first made free throw of the game to make it 42-41 with 11:29 remaining.
Koch led the Panthers with a double-double effort with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Seth Tuttle and Deon Mitchell each added a dozen for UNI.