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Omaha, Neb. • Starting power forward Chris Collinsworth was on the bench in street clothes nursing a sprained ankle. Senior guard Jackson Emery didn't start and was limited by a bruised shin. The All-American guard whose picture took up most of the front page of the local newspaper's sports section, Jimmer Fredette, was shadowed by two or three defenders from the moment he took off his warm-ups.
If there ever was a night when the No. 21 BYU Cougars, playing their third game in six days, could have rolled over, it was this one. A crowd of 15,532 at Qwest Center Omaha sensed that, too, it seemed, but couldn't wil Creighton to the upset win in a Missouri Valley-Mountain West Challenge game.
Brandon Davies scored a career-high 24 points on 9-for-11 shooting, and freshman Kyle Collinsworth posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds as the Cougars rolled past the Bluejays 77-65 to stay undefeated (7-0) and get their first true road win of the season.
"That's a really good win for our players and our program," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "… All in all, getting that first true road win is big for every team. I thought we played well tonight and deserved to win."
Creighton freshman Doug McDermott remember that name, followers of ex-Jazzman Kyle Korver's old school burned the Cougars with 20 points and 12 rebounds, but otherwise BYU's defense was solid in holding the Jays to 39.3 percent shooting. The Cougars won the rebounding battle as well, 43-33.
The Cougars led throughout the first half and most of the second half, but Creighton rallied to tie the score 51-51 with 11 minutes left. With the crowd roaring after Darryl Ashford's three free throws tied it, the Cougars delivered one of their best stretches of basketball in years, going on a 10-0 run that was capped with a thunderous dunk by Noah Hartsock.
Fredette and Davies made three-point plays during the run, and Kyle Collinsworth added a rebound basket.
"I am not sure BYU is that much more talented than we are, but I am pretty sure that they are a lot tougher than we are," said Creighton coach Greg McDermott, Doug's father. "And that's disheartening."
Still, the Cougars had to hold off another surge. The Bluejays came out of the under eight-minute media timeout with five quick points, including a long-range three by Antoine Young that barely beat the shot clock to make it 61-56.
But Emery dropped in a three of his own just seconds later, and Davies took over down the stretch. He scored BYU's last 13 points.
"I mean, that's a great night," said Rose, clicking off Davies' numbers in 27 minutes of action. "We will win a lot of games with our post guy playing like that."
Emery and Fredette added 13 points apiece, but Emery got there on 5-for-7 shooting while Fredette made only five of his 15 attempts and was 1 of 5 from three-point range.
"They did everything they could possibly do to stop me from shooting the ball," said Fredette after his season low point total. "… I didn't score the ball very much tonight, but I didn't need to."
Emery didn't practice Monday or Tuesday, and said he literally didn't know in warm-ups if he would play or not. Rose said he started Kyle Collinsworth instead of Emery because that's the lineup with which the Cougars prepared for the game
R In Short • No. 21 BYU gets its first win on an opponent's floor this season.
Key Moment • The Cougars go on a 10-0 run midway through the second half after the Bluejays knot the score at 51-51.
Key Stat • Brandon Davies has a career-high 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting.