Auburn 72, Creighton 69
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Mamadou N’Diaye had 15 points and 11 rebounds and blocked Ben Walker’s desperation 3-pointer just before the buzzer as Auburn escaped with a 72-69 victory over Creighton on Thursday in the NCAA Midwest Regional.
The Tigers (24-9), the No. 7 seed, went ahead 72-63 on N’Diaye’s two free throws with 12.7 seconds left.
The lead seemed so safe that Auburn coach Cliff Ellis inserted team manager Jimbo Tolbert into the game.
But 10th-seeded Creighton, the best 3-point shooting team in the tournament, got a 3-pointer from Ryan Sears, and Tolbert, in his first college action, turned the ball over on the inbounds. Terrell Taylor hit another 3 to pull the Bluejays to 72-69 with 3.8 seconds left.
The stunned Tigers again turned the ball over on the inbounds, giving Creighton possession under Auburn’s basket with a chance to tie it.
But Walker was closely guarded by N’Diaye, who got his hand on the ball just as it was released, deflecting it straight up.
The Bluejays, who finished 23-10, trailed 40-25 at halftime and by 18 in the opening minutes of the first half before finding their shooting touch.