ST LOUIS (Ticker) -- Indiana State may have finished its season with only seven wins, but it certainly earned the respect of Creighton.
Mike Grimes keyed a late run with six points and the 19th-ranked Bluejays survived a wild finish for a 57-56 victory over Indiana State in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
Indiana State (7-24) finished last in the MVC but advanced to the quarterfinals Friday with a 61-60 upset of seventh seed Northern Iowa on Brian Giesen's tip-in at the buzzer. The Sycamores nearly pulled off an even bigger upset in this one.
"We were very fortunate," admitted Creighton coach Dana Altman, whose team beat Indiana State by an average of 25.5 points during the regular season. "Indiana State played well. I've got to give a lot of credit to Indiana State. We had a hard time making shots."
Grimes, a St. Louis native, scored six straight points to give Creighton (27-4) a 57-52 lead with 4:52 remaining. The Bluejays failed to score the rest of the way and the Sycamores almost made them pay.
"It's tournament time," Grimes said. "We know we need to step our game up. In order to go further in the tournament, you have to come ready to play every night."
Two free throws by freshman David Moss pulled Indiana State within 57-56 with 65 seconds left and Creighton's Nate Funk misfired on a baseline jumper. A jump ball was called on the rebound and the Bluejays had the possession arrow in their favor but threw the inbounds right to the Sycamores' Marcus Howard.
Indiana State was out of timeouts and set up for a final shot as its players looked hesitant to shoot. Sycamores point guard Lamar Grimes drove with six seconds left and found a wide-open Catrel Green in the corner.
Green hesitated before misfiring on a jumper over the outstretched arm of Kyle Korver. Mike Grimes pulled down the rebound and was fouled with three seconds to go.
"A wide-open 15-foot shot is pretty good," Sycamores coach Royce Waltman said. "We had no timeouts left, but in all honesty, I probably wouldn't have called one."
"I was just hoping it didn't go in," Creighton guard DeAnthony Bowden said. "I just didn't want it to go in. After he missed it and Mike got a big rebound, I was overjoyed."
Mike Grimes missed both foul shots, but the rebound was tipped into the arms of Creighton's Michael Lindeman, who covered the ball as time expired.
Indiana State missed its last six shots.
The second-seeded Bluejays will meet third-seeded Wichita State in Sunday's semifinals.
Korver bounced back from a rough first half to score 12 of his 15 points over the final 20 minutes. Korver sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a basket by Howard and Brody Deren's layup gave the Bluejays a 42-36 lead with just under 17 minutes remaining.
"We didn't play our best game of the year," Korver said. "I thought we played great defense and I thought we hit the boards pretty well for the most part."
The Sycamores roared back with a 9-2 spurt, taking a 45-44 lead on Howard's 3-pointer at the 13-minute mark.
"Our team played really well tonight and obviously, I was extremely proud," Waltman said. "It was a tough loss. Every time we got down, we competed and fought back."
It did not look like Indiana State was a strong candidate to become the first No. 10 seed in the MVC to advance to the semifinals. Creighton scored the first nine points and was intent on turning the contest into a blowout.
ISU fashioned a 13-2 tear and took its first lead of the night, 13-11, on Wilfred Antoine's 3-pointer with just over 12 minutes left before halftime.
The Sycamores showed patience on offense, resulting in the Bluejays' lowest point total of the season.
"At halftime, I really didn't have to get on them," Altman said. "They knew weren't playing their best game."
Moss scored 12 points, Howard had 11 and Lamar Grimes 10 for Indiana State, which shot just under 36 percent (21-of-59). Giesen grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds, but the Sycamores were beaten on the glass, 44-37.