Witter 3 keys Creighton comeback
OMAHA, Neb. (AP)—Cavel Witter hit a 3-point shot with 3.2 seconds left to finish Creighton’s comeback from a 17-point deficit in the second half and give the Bluejays a 74-73 victory over Rhode Island in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night.
The Bluejays (22-10) had to overcome double-digit deficits twice in the second half before advancing to a second-round game against the winner of Wednesday night’s game between San Diego State and Florida. Rhode Island (21-12) lost eight of its final nine games.
Creighton still trailed 70-58 with 3:14 left, but the Rams wouldn’t score another field goal. P’Allen Stinnett hit a 3 and then made a steal and layup and Booker Woodfox drilled back-to-back 3s to make it 72-69 with a minute left. Witter’s two free throws made it a one-point game.
Marquis Jones made one of two free throws with 11.5 seconds left to put the Rams up by two points.
On the final play, Stinnett moved toward the basket, then kicked the ball out to Witter on the left side. Witter launched the winning 3—his only field goal of the night on eight attempts.
Stinnett and Woodfox each had 22 points, with Stinnett scoring 18 in the second half. Witter, who made 7-of-8 free throws, had 10 points.
Will Daniels led Rhode Island with 16 points. Jimmy Baron added 13 and Lamonte Ulmer 12.
Rhode Island led 45-32 at halftime and 50-33 with 16:26 left. But the Rams shot just 31 percent in the second half after hitting 53 percent the first 20 minutes.
Stinnett scored eight points and Booker Woodfox seven during a 17-4 run that got the Bluejays within 54-50 with 9:24 left.
Rhode Island then ran off seven straight points, with Baron hitting a 3-pointer to make it 61-50 after teammate Jason Francis missed a free throw.
After Creighton’s Nick Bahe hit a 3-pointer to open the scoring, Rhode Island ran off 12 straight points to take control in the first half. Baron made the first of his three 3s and put back his own miss to finish the run. Another 3 by Baron started a 9-0 spurt that stretched the Rams’ lead to 31-14.
The Bluejays got their crowd back into the game when Bahe scored underneath and Stinnett faked a behind-the-pass to shake off Jones on his drive to the basket, pulling the Bluejays to 35-23 with 4:11 left in the half.