Cedar Falls, Iowa - The University of Northern Iowa's 11-game winning streak came to and end on Sunday afternoon, as Creighton posted a 77-71 win over the Panthers in front of a season-high crowd of 6,234 at the McLeod Center.
UNI junior forward Adam Koch led all players with 23 points and a season-high tying 12 rebounds, including five offensive boards. Koch was a perfect 13-for-13 at the free throw line in the game, and has now made 25 consecutive foul shots. Koch was joined in double figures by sophomore guard Kwadzo Ahelegbe who had 16 points and four assists, while junior guard Ali Farokhmanesh added 10 points. Creighton was led by forward Justin Carter, who had 17 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Creighton opened a 10-7 lead to start the game, but UNI tied it on a three-pointer from Travis Brown. The Bluejays went back in front 15-12, but a pair of free throws from Adam Rodenberg and a layup from Jordan Eglseder gave UNI the lead, 16-15.
Creighton opened a four-point edge, 20-16, after a layup from Carter midway through the first half. But UNI scored six straight, culminated by a layup from Ahelegbe, to regain the advantage, 22-20. The lead changed hands three more times, before Creighton used a 5-0 run to open a 31-26 advantage with 3:18 left before halftime. UNI ended the half by getting a short jumper and two free throws from Koch to get the Panthers within 31-30 at intermission.
Koch scored five straight points to in the opening minute of the second half to give UNI its largest lead of the game, 35-31. Carter and Booker Woodfox made consecutive three-pointers to push Creighton back in front, 37-35, at Creighton would not trail again. Those two treys were the start of a 15-4 Bluejay run that ended with CU holding a 46-39 lead with 15:30 left.
The Panthers got four straight foul shots from Ahelegbe to get within 48-45 with 13:03 on the clock, but the Bluejays answered with eight straight points to move in front, 56-45, at 8:45.
UNI made a run, getting within 62-57 after Farokhmanesh drained a three with just over five minutes left in the game. UNI was still within five when Creighton's Josh Dotzler made a key three-pointer to extend Creighton's lead back to 66-58 with just under three minutes remaining. The Panthers didn't get closer than six points the rest of the way, as Creighton made 9-of-12 free throws in the final two minutes to seal the win.
The Panthers shot a season-low 29 percent from the field, including 5-for-26 from three-point range (19.2 percent). It was just the third time all year UNI was held below 40 percent shooting. Creighton connected on 47 percent of its shots for the game and was 6-for-17 from behind the arc. Both teams got to the foul line often, as the Panthers were 30-for-32 as a team, while the Bluejays were 23-for-33. UNI held a commanding lead in rebounding, grabbing 49 rebounds (including 20 offensive) to just 29 by CU.
With the victory, Creighton improved to 19-6 overall, 9-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference, while UNI fell to 17-7 overall, 11-2 in the Valley. The Panthers play host to Southern Illinois this Wednesday (Feb. 11), with tipoff time from the McLeod Center set for 7:05 pm.