Despite a combined 54-point performance from Bryant McIntosh and Vic Law, Northwestern fell 92-88 to Creighton in a thriller on Wednesday night.
Thomas led the Bluejays with 24 points, while Creighton’s bench outscored Northwestern’s 33 to 4. The loss is the Wildcats’ first at Allstate Arena, dropping the team to 2-1 on the season. The Bluejays improved to 3-0.
Up 88-85 with less than 30 seconds to play, Khryi Thomas missed a three for Creighton, but Martin Krampelj grabbed the rebound and put it back to put the Bluejays up five. Gavin Skelly answered with a three on the other end for Northwestern, but Creighton made its free throws down the stretch to pull out the win.
Creighton put on an offensive showcase in the first half, shooting 57 percent from the floor. Freshman Ty-Shon Alexander came off the bench to score 11 points, including three triples. The Bluejays spread the wealth around on offense; eight of nine players hit at least one field goal in the first half, resulting in a 51-43 lead.
McIntosh carried the Wildcats early, playing the entire first half. He had 12 points and five assists, including a floater right before the break that cut the deficit to single digits. He continued his terrific play after the break, finishing with 24 points and 9 assists on the night.
Law was also aggressive, scoring seven points in the first half, including an impressive alley-oop dunk from McIntosh. After the break, he exploded for 23 second-half points en route to his career-high.
Gavin Skelly added 14 points and Scottie Lindsey 10 for the Wildcats. Both hit big shots down the stretch to keep Northwestern in the game.
The Bluejays also dominated inside, outscoring the Wildcats 48 to 26 in the paint. Northwestern’s defense kept blowing switches, which allowed Creighton to attack the rim and get easy layups.
The Wildcats came out roaring to start the second half, especially Law, who scored a quick 12 points. He got inside for a layup and hit three triples, including a four-point play. The 16-6 run sparked the crowd, and the Wildcats got a standing ovation at the under-16 timeout with the game tied at 61.
After going down by two, the Bluejays responded with a 12-2 run to go up 73-65, including five points from Thomas and another three-pointer from Alexander.
Foul trouble plagued Northwestern in the second half. Pardon and Lindsey both picked up their fourth foul with over eight minutes remaining, forcing Collins to turn to Barret Benson and Anthony Gaines.
Northwestern battled down the stretch, with Law and McIntosh repeatedly making tough shots, but Creighton always seemed to have an answer and never let the Wildcats get closer than two points.
Creighton’s leading scorer on the season, Marcus Foster, was cold in the first half but made two huge threes down the stretch for the Bluejays.
This weekend, the Wildcats will head to Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. to face LaSalle and either Boston College or Texas Tech in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tip-Off.