Southern Illinois falls to Creighton
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OMAHA, Neb. — Grant Gibbs and Will Artino scored 13 points apiece, and Creighton broke open a close game in the middle of the second half to defeat Southern Illinois 59-45 on Tuesday night.
The Bluejays (22-6, 11-5) remained a game behind Missouri Valley Conference leader Wichita State. The last-place Salukis (11-16, 4-12) matched their school record for consecutive conference road losses with their 15th in a row since January 2012.
Doug McDermott had 10 points and seven rebounds for Creighton, which has won 73 straight at home against opponents with winning percentages of .500 or worse.
Jeff Early scored 12 points and Anthony Beane added 10 for the Salukis, who shot 35 percent but stayed close by converting Creighton's 15 turnovers into 15 points and outscoring the Bluejays 13-4 on second-chance baskets.
The Bluejays beat the Salukis for the 11th straight time and completed the season sweep. They won by 30 points in Carbondale, Ill., last month.
Artino scored three straight baskets for Creighton in middle of the second half to keep the Salukis at bay. On the last of those buckets, he drew a foul on Dantiel Daniels as he muscled in the ball into the hoop and brought Creighton fans to their feet. Artino missed the free throw, but the Bluejays still led 39-31 after SIU had closed within four.
Nevin Johnson's two free throws with 11:18 left got the lead back to 10 points for the first time since early in the first half.
The Salukis had a chance to whittle the deficit to single digits with 8 minutes left, but Beane was called for basket interference as Desmar Jackson's shot was about to drop through the hoop.
Official Zelton Steed called a technical foul on SIU coach Barry Hinson a few seconds later, after he argued an offensive foul on Jalen Pendleton. McDermott made the free throws to put the Bluejays up by 12.
McDermott scored 21 points in the 81-51 win over the Salukis in January, but he was just 4 of 11 from the field and went long stretches without touching the ball.
Jackson, who led SIU with 16 points in the first meeting, committed his fourth foul early in the second half and was held to five points on 1-of-9 shooting in 17 minutes.
McDermott was presented with a commemorative ball in a pregame ceremony to mark his 2,000th career point, scored Saturday at Evansville.
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