EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Colt Ryan gave Evansville the lead for good by making a 17-footer with 3:08 to play Tuesday night, and the Purple Aces closed the game on a 13-1 run to pull off a 65-57 upset of No. 17 Creighton.
The nation's best shooting team was out of sync all night and wound up losing a second straight game for the first time this season. Creighton (21-4, 11-3 Missouri Valley Conference) was led by Doug McDermott with 21 points.
Kenny Harris scored 15 points to lead Evansville (12-12, 7-7), which ended a six-game losing streak against the Bluejays. The Purple Aces limited Creighton to 40.4 percent shooting from the field, including 4 of 22 on 3-pointers, and didn't trail until early in the second half.
Evansville was behind 48-41with 12:56 to go but rallied with a 9-2 run to tie the score at 50.
Creighton rebuilt a 56-52 lead with 5:23 to go, but the Purple Aces' defense dominated the rest of the way.
Harris hit a 15-footer to tie the score at 56 with 4:15 left. Sixty-seven seconds later, Ryan hit the midrange jumper to break the tie and Harris followed that with another basket to make it 60-56 with 2:16 to go.
Austin Chatman then missed three of four free throws for Creighton, and Evansville closed it out by making five free throws in the final minute.
The Bluejays entered the game with the nation's top field goal shooting percentage (51.2), top 3-point shooting percentage (44.8) and was ranked in the top 10 in scoring (81.0). Against the Aces, they missed their first eight 3-point attempts and started the game 6 of 17 from the field. Worse, they committed eight turnovers in less than 12 minutes and struggled to play defense against an Evansville team that had lost three of its last four games.
Lewis Jones gave the Aces an unexpected boost by making his first two 3-pointers of the season during a 10-2 run that gave Evansville a 29-19 lead with 5:07 left in the first half.
That's when Creighton finally turned things around.
Down 31-21, Antoine Young made a 15-footer and McDermott followed with Creighton's second 3 of the game. The Bluejays closed the half on a 10-2 run to get within 33-31.
Creighton changed everything with a simple adjustment.
By repeatedly pushing the ball inside to Gregory Echenique, the Bluejays opened the second half by making their first five shots and taking a 37-35 lead, their first of the game, on McDermott's short jumper with 16:59 to go.
But Evansville turned the game with the run midway through the second half and put it away with the closing run.