OMAHA, Neb. -- P'Allen Stinnett scored 18 points, including two big free throws in the final minute, and Creighton came from behind to defeat Bowling Green 73-71 in the first round of the NIT Wednesday night.
The Bluejays (27-7) will host Kentucky (21-13) in a second-round game Monday.Creighton, which trailed by 14 points in the first half and by 8 with 8 1/2 minutes left, went ahead 69-67 with 4:41 to play on Booker Woodfox's 3-pointer.Nate Miller put the Falcons (19-14) ahead again briefly, but Justin Carter's 3-pointer with 1:46 left gave the Bluejays the lead for good.Stinnett hit two free throws with 35 seconds to make it a three-point game. Miller's fastbreak layup got Bowling Green within 72-71, but he missed an inside shot that would have given the Falcons the lead with 19 seconds to play.Woodfox made a free throw for the final margin.Carter added 14 points, Antoine Young 12 and Woodfox 10 for the Bluejays.Miller scored 22 points, Darryl Clements had 19 points and eight rebounds, and Brian Moten added 12 points for Bowling Green.Creighton, the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season co-champion, had hoped to receive an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament after winning 10 of its last 11 games. An ugly loss to Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament semifinals, combined with upsets in other conference tournaments, left the Bluejays short.The Bluejays missed their first 11 3-point shots, and the Falcons led for more than 32 minutes before Creighton rallied.Bowling Green, which won the Mid-American Conference regular-season title, had a chance to tie or win at the end, but Clements' 23-footer bounced off the rim, and Scott Thomas' tip try was off the mark at the buzzer.The Bluejays will be playing a Kentucky team that is in the NIT for the first time in three decades. The Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 18 years.They advanced to the second round of the NIT with a 70-60 win over UNLV on Tuesday.