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Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 11:50 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(18) Creighton 63, Sms 58
CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS
Creighton Bluejays
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SW MISSOURI ST. BEARS
SW Missouri St. Bears
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SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (Ticker) -- Kyle Korver snapped out of his shooting slump and helped Creighton hang on to first place.

Korver scored 13 of his 25 points in the final 10 minutes as the 18th-ranked Bluejays rallied for a 63-58 victory over Southwest Missouri State in a Missouri Valley Conference matchup.

After averaging just 13.6 points in his previous six games, Korver exploded for a season-high 27 points in Saturday's win over Fresno State despite making just 7-of-20 shots. He shot just 36 percent (31-of-87) in seven games before making 7-of-15 shots on Wednesday, his best shooting performance since January 29.

Korver made 5-of-10 3-pointers and has attempted 230 this season, breaking his own school record by nine. He has made 110 3-pointers, which is 24 shy of the conference record set by Southern Illinois' Troy Hudson during the 1996-97 season.

Southwest Missouri State had a 49-42 lead with 10:53 remaining but was held scoreless for nearly five minutes as Creighton scored eight straight points. Korver scored the final five points of the spurt and buried a 3-pointer to give the Bluejays a 50-49 edge with 5:58 left - its first lead in 18 minutes.

The Bears scored five of the next seven points and took a 54-52 lead on a free throws by Tamarr Maclin with 4:20 to go. But Mike Grimes answered with a jumper to forge a tie and Korver buried a 3-pointer to put Creighton (25-3, 14-2 MVC) ahead for good with 3 1/2 minutes left.

Terrance McGee made 1-of-2 free throws for the Bears before Creighton's Nate Funk buried a jumper for a 59-56 lead with 70 seconds left.

Korver and Grimes each buried a pair of free throws in the final 23 seconds as the Bluejays remained tied with Southern Illinois for first place in the conference.

"It was real fun game tonight," Korver said. "It was a real battle, but it was a lot of fun. SMS defended us extremely well. It was just tough, physical play."

"We made some key plays down the stretch and the key to it was we tuned up our defensive effort in the second half," Creighton coach Dana Altman said. "Anytime you can defend, you are going to be a dangerous team."

Creighton shot just 40 percent (22-of-55) from the floor but held Southwest Missouri State to 38 percent (21-of-55).

"Creighton is a great team and defended us so well tonight," Bears guard Merrill Andrews said. "They created a lot of problems for us. We could not hit shots and turned the ball over. That's it."

McGee finished with 22 points and Andrews added 14 for third-place Southwest Missouri State (15-10, 11-5), which fell three games out of the top spot.


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