DES MOINES, Iowa -- Creighton overcame a 44-28 halftime deficit to take a second-half lead, but it wasn't enough as Drake held on for a 74-69 win at Drake Knapp Center on Wednesday evening.
Drake improved to 9-10 (3-5 MVC) with the victory, while #17/12 Creighton lost its second straight and dropped to 17-3 (6-2 MVC).
The Bulldogs were led by Richard Carter, who tied a career-high with 20 points.
Drake got a Jordan Clarke basket on its first possession before Creighton unleashed a flurry of points. The Jays would score on six of its next eight trips, including four baskets by Doug McDermott, and take a 12-5 lead before Drake called timeout. The timeout paid dividends, as the Bulldogs answered with a 7-0 run to knot the score at 12-all on a Ben Simons jumper from the top of the key.
The Bulldog crowd erupted when DU took a 25-20 lead after consecutive three-pointers from the left corner by Carter. The Bulldogs closed the first half on a 12-0 run to go ahead 44-28 at the break, including three-pointers by Jeremy Jeffers and Chris Hines.
McDermott led Creighton with 17 points at the break, while Grant Gibbs had four steals. The Jays were outscored 24-5 in the seven minutes without Gibbs. Drake's first half was paced by 14 points from Carter, while Daddy Ugbede had a career-best eight points in nine first half minutes. DU outrebounded CU 22-13 in the half and owned a 25-2 edge in bench points.
Creighton came out with renewed vigor and intensity to start the second half. Scoreless in the first half, Gibbs had six points during a 10-3 run that prompted another DU timeout as the Jays chipped away its deficit to just nine points. Two scores from Will Artino and a three-pointer by Gibbs trimmed the deficit to two (53-51) with 11:48 to go.
The Jays got within one point before consecutive treys by Jeremy Jeffers, but CU's Ethan Wragge's answered with a corner trey and Austin Chatman followed two minutes later with a three-pointer of his own to make it 61-60.
The Jays took their first lead since the early minutes when Artino fed McDermott for the All-American's first points of the second half at 62-61 with 7:11 left. But Drake tied it on a Micah Mason free throw and went back ahead on a Simons jumper from the left wing.
Down by three in the closing minutes, the Jays had a pair of chances to tie it but were off the mark on three-point attempts by Ethan Wragge and Jahenns Manigat. Carter's floater with 51.0 left rolled in to give Drake a five-point lead.
Gibbs put in a three-point play with 32.0 seconds left to make it a two-point game, and CU got a steal and called its final timeout with 25.3 left. Gibbs once again drove the lane, but this time his attempt rattled out. Drake's Carter was immediately fouled with 9.2 left.
He made 1-of-2 shots to make it a 3-point lead. Creighton never got an attempt up, as Simons came up with a steal and was hacked with 0.5 left. Students would storm the court, only to be sent back to their seats. Simons made his two foul shots, and the students returned to the court in jubilation.
McDermott finished with 19 points while Gibbs had all 18 of his points after intermission. Creighton shot 5-of-21 from three-point range and 45.0 percent from the floor.
Drake was paced by Carter's 20 points, while Jeffers (13) and Ugbede (12) also had double-figure nights off the bench. Drake shot 44.4 percent for the game.
Creighton returns to the court on Sunday for a 7 pm game at Southern Illinois.