Normal, IL – Grant Gibbs scored 16 points and dished out seven assists and Doug McDermott added 15 points and nine rebounds as 16th- ranked Creighton held off Illinois State, 79-72, on Wednesday.
Ethan Wragge scored 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range and Gregory Echenique had 12 points for the Bluejays (13-1, 2-0 MVC), winners in seven straight.
"It was a fabulous win," said Creighton coach Greg McDermott. "There are not many teams in our league that could've come in here tonight and played a tough opponent like them and get away with a win. We'll take it."
Bryant Allen and Tyler Brown scored 15 points apiece and Jackie Carmichael added 10 for the Redbirds (9-5, 0-2), who have dropped two straight on the heels of a four-game winning streak.
"We really wanted this win tonight. And we came close. Creighton is a very good team, but we wanted this one," said Illinois State coach Dan Muller.
Avery Dingman's jumper with 11 1/2 minutes left gave Creighton a 61-55 lead, but Illinois State scored the next eight points to move back in front.
Echenique's 3-point play then sparked an 8-2 run that put the Bluejays ahead 69-65 margin with just over four minutes left, and teams traded scores until McDermott's layup put Creighton ahead 73-68 with just 1 1/2 minutes left.
Carmichael's slam pulled the Redbirds within 73-70, but the Bluejays outscored Illinois State 6-2 the rest of the way to seal the win.
Wragge's 3-ball at the 13:17 mark in the first half gave Creighton a 20-8 lead, but a 13-6 Redbirds' surge cut it to 26-21 with just under nine minutes remaining in the period.
A 12-5 Creighton run made it 42-30 with 2:20 to go before halftime, but Illinois State closed the frame on a 9-0 run to go into the break trailing by just three.
Creighton has won six straight against the Redbirds ... The Bluejays will host Indiana State on Saturday and Illinois State will face Northern Iowa next ... The Redbirds hold a 40-30 advantage in the all-time series.