AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Indiana State played evenly with No. 16 Creighton for 30 minutes.
Those last 10 minutes did in the Sycamores.
Gregory Echenique's dunk off an alley-oop pass fueled a 19-4 run that carried the Bluejays to a 79-66 victory Saturday.
"We didn't have enough today for an unbelievably talented team," Indiana State coach Greg Lansing said. "Like I told our guys, I thought they fought awfully hard. We were hanging around in there, kind of hanging by the skin of our teeth. We just didn't do the things we really needed to do at either end of the court to beat an outstanding team.
"You give Creighton all the credit in the world. They took it to us down the stretch and are an awfully good team."
The Bluejays (14-1, 3-0) have won eight straight and are off to their best start in Missouri Valley Conference play since 2003-04.
The Sycamores (9-5, 2-1) lost for the 14th straight time in Omaha since 1999.
Echenique had 16 points and nine rebounds to just miss his fourth double-double in eight games. He scored inside to tie it 51-51 with 10 minutes left and gave the Bluejays the lead when he dunked Grant Gibbs' alley-oop pass.
Jake Odum and Manny Arop scored 13 points apiece and Justin Gant added 12 for the Sycamores, who made just 9 of 18 free throws in the second half.
Creighton hadn't trailed in any of its previous three home games against Indiana State, and it had won by double digits in six straight meetings.
The Sycamores, picked to finish seventh in the preseason Valley poll, came in off wins in their first two conference games for the first time since 2007-08.
There were 10 lead changes and nine ties, and the Sycamores didn't trail by more than single digits until less than 7 minutes remained.
The game was tied 27-27 at halftime, and the Sycamores led by a basket with 10 1-2 minutes to play.
"We came out and the guys were definitely playing to win, we expected to win," Lansing said. "We made a lot of mistakes and let some missed shots and missed layups and free throws hurt us at the defensive end. I felt we gave in at that end, and that's not how we've been playing."
Odum, the Sycamores' season scoring leader, made a wide-open 3 from the wing to break a 32-32 tie after missing 6 of his first 7 shots. Justin Gant gave the Sycamores a 39-32 lead, their biggest of the game.
Jahenns Manigat and Ethan Wragge knocked down consecutive 3s to tie it 40-40, and the teams kept trading baskets until the Bluejays went on their decisive run.
After Echenique's third dunk of the game, which gave the Bluejays the lead for good, Odum dribbled out of bounds. Wragge hit a long 3-pointer on the other end and the Bluejays were on their way.
Creighton made its move with leading scorer Doug McDermott on the bench with three fouls. Over the 5 minutes he was out, the Bluejays outscored the Sycamores 15-7.
McDermott finished with 25 points and nine rebounds.
Indiana State used a 13-3 spurt to turn an 18-14 deficit into a 27-21 lead late in the first half. Odum's uncontested layup for his first basket put the Sycamores in front, and Dawon Cummings, a 17 percent shooter from 3-point range, hit a long one from the corner to finish the spurt.
The Bluejays went more than 6 minutes without a field goal before McDermott scored twice and Austin Chatman knocked down a fade-away jumper to make it 27-27 at halftime.
"I'm happy with the effort we're giving, I really am," Lansing said. "These guys are good guys and they're a joy to be around. And their heads are hanging. My head's hanging. We had a great opportunity to beat one of the best teams in the country in a wonderful environment. We just didn't get it done. We'll get another shot at them down the road."
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