No. 21 Creighton uses 2nd-half run to beat Bradley
By ERIC OLSON
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) After playing right with No. 21 Creighton well into the second half, Bradley started panicking at the first sign of trouble.
The Braves lost 75-58 Saturday after Creighton broke open the game with a 12-0 run. Bradley coach Geno Ford lamented that his team lost its patience on offense during four scoreless possessions.
"I wasn't at all disappointed in the game until it was about 58-50, and then we had four straight possessions that were zero, zero, one and one pass," Ford said. "You can't go zero pass and shoot because then they get to play offense the whole time. To have any kind of success against them, you have to have time of possession on your side."
Dyricus Simms-Edwards, who led the Braves with 18 points, said he and his teammates felt the game slipping away.
"We were trying to get it all back, playing hero ball," Simms-Edwards said.
Doug McDermott scored 25 points, including nine during the decisive run, and Creighton overcame poor 3-point shooting in the first half.
The Bluejays (20-3, 9-2 Missouri Valley Conference) beat Bradley for the 15th straight time at home and have won 20 games for the 14th time in 15 seasons.
Bradley (13-10, 5-6) lost its fifth straight road game and eighth in a row against a ranked opponent.
Austin Chatman, who had 16 points, drilled a 3-pointer after Bradley had closed to 53-48. Then McDermott went to work, hitting a 3, a layup and four straight free throws to make it 65-48 with 5 minutes to play.
The Bluejays finished with a 33-24 advantage on the boards after outrebounding the Braves 18-4 in the second half.
Gregory Echenique had eight of his 10 points in the second half, and he blocked three shots.
Walt Lemon Jr. added 15 points and Tyshon Pickett 11 for the Braves.
Creighton has won 26 straight against Braves when scoring 70 points or more.
The Bluejays, the nation's top 3-point shooting team, came into the game after making 15 of 28 from long range against Missouri State.
Try as they did, repeatedly, the 3s weren't falling in the first half. They trailed by three points at the break after launching 21 of their first 29 shots from 3-point range and connecting on seven.
Creighton scored its first four baskets of the second half in the paint to turn a 30-27 deficit into a 35-30 lead.
Jahenns Manigat found McDermott alone underneath for an easy two points before Echenique hit a short left-handed hook. After the Bluejays missed a couple 3s, Echenique took an entry pass for a third-chance bucket. Then Grant Gibbs threaded the ball into the lane to McDermott, who converted for an easy basket.
Bradley closed to 43-41 on Lemon's three-point play. But Will Artino, who just entered for McDermott, made it a five-point game by converting a three-point play after his off-balance, left-handed putback of Avery Dingman's miss.
The Bluejays didn't hesitate to shoot more 3s once they took control. Ethan Wragge and Chatman hit a couple in a row before McDermott struck from long range to start his 9-0 run that all but finished off the Braves.
McDermott had averaged 26 points and 10.3 rebounds in four previous games against Bradley.
Bradley shot 44 percent in the first half, which was good enough for a lead against a Creighton team struggling to find its shooting touch.
Pickett scored five of his seven first-half points during a 9-2 run that gave the Braves their three-point lead at the break.
Creighton wore jerseys with pink trim and pink shoes as part of its third annual Creighton vs. Cancer Pink Out, and the first 14,000 fans received pink T-shirts. A jersey auction raised $24,444, with $5,002 bid for McDermott's No. 3.
Updated February 2, 2013