UNI Snaps Creighton Basketball Hex, 69-66
OMAHA, Neb. -- Northern Iowa snapped a nine-game losing streak to Creighton with a 69-66 upset victory over the host Bluejays before 15,575 fans on Tuesday night. UNI's victory also snapped the program's 12-game losing streak in Omaha as well as Creighton's 14-game home winning streak at Qwest Center Omaha.
UNI won its third straight game and improved to 9-6 on the season (3-1 MVC), while Creighton dropped its second straight and fell to 12-4 (2-2 MVC).
Freshman guard Johnny Moran hit 6-of-8 three-pointers on his way to a career-high 22 points, not to mention his eight rebounds, to pace the victors. Fellow UNI guard Ali Farokhmanesh added 18 points, including UNI's last four points in the final 75 seconds. Adam Koch scored 13 points and game-high nine rebounds and Kwadzo Ahelegbe had 10 points and five assists before fouling out with 4:51 to play. UNI shot 49 percent while holding Creighton to just 40 percent from the field.The Panthers also outrebounded Creighton, 34-26.
P'Allen Stinnett led Creighton with 17 points, while Booker Woodfox scored 12 and Cavel Witter 11. The Jays shot 39.6 percent for the game (19-48), including 6-of-18 from three-point range (33.3 percent) and 75.9 percent at the line (22-29). CU did force 16 turnovers against UNI, which entered the game averaging a league-low 11.9 miscues per contest.
CU led by as much as eight points on four different occasions in the first 20 minutes, only to see UNI end the first half on a 12-4 run to gain their first lead at 30-29 in the final 20 seconds before intermission.
The Panthers run would extend to 22-7, as the Panthers built up a 42-33 lead by the first media timeout of the second half. Creighton would use a 7-0 run, capped by a three-pointer from Chad Millard, to retake a 51-50 lead with 9:44 to play. The Jays lead would eventually stretch to 57-52 at the 8:22 mark following a three-pointer from Stinnett.
UNI answered CU's energy with baskets of its own, tying the game at 62 at the 3:51 mark after a putback by Koch. Witter gave CU its final lead on a three-ball at the 2:59 mark, but Koch's traditional three-point play evened the game at 65 with 2:39 left. CU missed a golden chance to retake the lead when Valley free-throw leader Woodfox missed a pair at the line, snapping his school-record streak of 36 straight makes at the free throw line.
After CU forced a Farokhmanesh miss and took over possession, Stinnett would be called for a palming violation on a baseline drive. Farokhmanesh would hit a rainbow jumper from the right baseline at the 1:14 mark to give UNI a 67-65 lead. Witter, an 86.8 percent shooter, would be fouled on the other end but missed his second attempt from the charity stripe with 42 seconds to play as UNI clinged to its one-point lead.
A trap of Farokhmanesh 25 feet from the hoop with three seconds left on the shot clock and 10 seconds left on the gameclock was wasted when Witter was whistled for a foul. Farokhmanesh would drain both free throws as UNI's lead reached three at 69-66. The Jays would push the ball upcourt, but Witter's three-pointer from the right wing hit the front of the rim and time expired as Moran grabbed the final rebound.
Creighton will play three of its next four games away from home, starting with a Saturday night contest at first-place Bradley (10-5, 4-0 MVC). The game will be broadcast on KXSP (Big Sports 590 AM) and televised in Omaha on Cox Channel 2 and in Peoria on WTVP.
NOTES: The game featured three ties and five lead changes ...UNI's last win in Omaha had been Feb. 17, 1996 ...UNI's Kwadzo Ahelegbe and CU's P'Allen Stinnett were whistled for a double-technical foul with 6:14 left in the second half ...The win was UNI's third in 19 all-time games at Creighton, and the first that wasn't by a single point ...The team that won the rebound battle has won the past seven meetings in the series ...UNI big man Jordan Eglseder was limited to seven minutes due to an ankle injury early in the first half ...CU's Booker Woodfox has scored in double-figures in 12 straight games ...Creighton's 14-game home win streak was tied for the nation's 12th-longest active streak ...Booker Woodfox's 36 straight free throw makes was a Creighton record and seventh-longest streak in MVC history ...The game was Dana Altman's 600th as a Division I head coach and his 450th on the sideline with Creighton.