OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton hit consecutive three pointers to help overcome a four-point deficit in the final minute of overtime to defeat Southern Illinois, 73-72, on Wednesday night in Omaha.
Creighton is now 14-4 overall (4-2 MVC), while Southern Illinois dropped to 7-10 (2-4 MVC).
Down three points with three seconds left in regulation, Creighton forced overtime when Cavel Witter was fouled on a three-point attempt and drained three straight from the line to send the game to overtime. A desperation heave by Bryan Mullins from just inside half-court hit off the side of the rim, sending the game to overtime tied at 63.
The Salukis would go ahead 67-65 with 1:53 left in overtime when Ryan Hare found an open Tony Boyle inside for a dunk. After a missed three-pointer from CU's Booker Woodfox, Boyle would convert a lay-in on the ensuing possession to put the 'Dawgs up four with 1:06 to go. Witter would be whistled for a charging foul with 53 seconds left, giving the ball to SIU. CU countered with a steal by Josh Dotzler and subsequent trey by P'Allen Stinnett to get within one with 46 seconds remaining.
On the other end, Stinnett would take a charge from Saluki freshman Ryan Hare with 33.2 seconds to go. Playing without a timeout, the Jays would go ahead when Woodfox drained a three-point basket off a dish from Witter with 21.4 seconds left. Mullins, who hit a game-winning basket to beat the Jays in Omaha in 2007, would miss a three-pointer from the top of the key and CU's Kenton Walker would grab the rebound and be fouled with two seconds left. Walker would hit two free throws to push CU's lead to four, which proved important when Mullins sank a 30-footer at the buzzer for the final margin.
Creighton led the majority of the first half after overcoming SIU's 5-0 lead to open the game. The Jays went ahead 18-17 on Stinnett's fourth three-pointer of the opening 11 minutes. CU scored the final six points of the first half, including four from Walker, to take a 33-25 halftime advantage.
Creighton would open up a nine-point lead (36-27) after a trey from Woodfox, but SIU answered the bell with a 15-3 run to take a 42-39 lead after an open three-pointer was knocked down by Kevin Dillard. After just three points in the first half, Dillard had nine points in the opening eight minutes of the second stanza to fuel the Saluki comeback.
After CU would fight back to knot the score at 45, another Dillard trey from the right corner would move SIU's lead back to 48-45 at the eight-minute media timeout. SIU would receive another boost minutes later when Justin Bocot would drain a three-pointer, giving SIU a four-point lead with 2:48 left in regulation.
Two free throws from Stinnett trimmed SIU's lead to two and the Jays would force a missed shot on the defensive end, only to have SIU retain the ball thanks to the possession arrow with 1:24 left. Dillard then hit a 10-foot runner from the left baseline to return SIU's lead to four at the 1:18 mark. Stinnett would split two free throws to make it a one-point game, and the Jays dropped the deficit to one after Witter's steal and score with 25 seconds left.
Dillard would hit two shots at the line with 10 seconds left to push SIU's lead to three, only to have CU get the ball to Witter at the top of the key. He would be fouled by Dillard with 3.3 seconds left, and the junior would calmly drain all three to even the score at 63 and set up the extra session.
Stinnett finished with 29 points -- one off his career best -- and hit five three-point buckets. Woodfox also scored 10 for CU, his 12th straight game in double-figures. The Jays won the rebounding battle 39-32 and were paced by nine caroms from Walker and eight from Justin Carter, who also added nine points. CU shot 37 percent for the game (20-54) and 8-of-22 from three-point range (36.4 percent), but once again had a stellar night at the line. CU would hit 25-of-28 free-throws (89.3 percent) in the game, including a 13-of-13 performance by the bench.
SIU was led by 21 points from Dillard, while Carlton Fay had 13. Boyle finished with nine points and 10 rebounds, narrowly missing a second consecutive double-double. Mullins had eight points, six assists and two steals in a game-high 43 minutes. The Salukis shot 44.8 percent from the field (26-58), including a 9-of-20 (45 percent) showing from three-point land. SIU also made 11-of-17 free throws (64.7 percent) in the contest.
Creighton returns to action on Saturday with a 3:05 pm contest at Wichita State. That game will be televised by Fox Sports Net Midwest and broadcast on radio on KXSP (Big Sports 590 AM).
NOTES: Prior to tonight, Creighton had not faced a Southern Illinois team with a losing overall record since Dec. 5, 1998 (SIU was 1-2) nor a Southern Illinois team with a losing conference record since Feb. 5, 1998 (SIU was 5-6) ...Creighton has never had a losing record after exactly six MVC games under Dana Altman ...Dana Altman is now 15-0 in Creighton's sixth MVC game of the year ...Creighton's Kenny Lawson Jr. has at least one blocked shot in 11 straight games ...Creighton is now 1-3 in games decided by three points or less this year ...Creighton is now 4-2 in overtime games at Qwest Center Omaha ...Creighton has won five straight games decided by one point since Bryan Mullins' game-winner in a 58-57 SIU win in Omaha on Jan. 20, 2007 ...P'Allen Stinnett's 39 minutes marked the first time all year a CU player had logged more than 32 minutes in a game ...Creighton is now 15-11 in overtime games under Dana Altman ...Creighton has won 29 straight home games on Wednesday's ...Creighton has won 53 straight games when scoring 72 points or more and 46 straight at home when scoring 68 or more ...Three of Southern Illinois' six games at Qwest Center Omaha have been decided by one point.