DES MOINES, Iowa — Drake got big nights from its two stars, Rayvonte Rice and Ben Simons, and put a significant scare into No. 15 Creighton.
Doug McDermott and the Bluejays were just too much for the Bulldogs to handle, keeping Drake from moving closer to the Missouri Valley's elite.
McDermott scored 30 points and No. 15 Creighton held off Drake 77-69 on Wednesday night for its sixth straight road win.
Jahenns Manigat added 15 for the Bluejays (19-2, 9-1 MVC), who have the program's longest road winning streak in 37 years.
Creighton let a 15-point lead dwindle to two early in the second half against the Bulldogs. But McDermott helped keep the Bulldogs from getting any closer, scoring 10 straight points late in the half.
"I thought we did some really good things in the second half," Drake coach Mark Phelps said. "Everything you do in a game like that matters. Everything you don't do that you should have done matters, and when you play a really good team they can make you pay. Have to give Creighton credit. They are who they are because they play that way on a consistent basis."
Rice had 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead Drake (12-9, 5-5), getting his seventh 20-point game of the season. Ben Simons added 18 and Kurt Alexander added 16 points off the bench.
Creighton never trailed in the second half in winning its ninth straight overall.
Simons hit a 3 to get Drake within 67-62 with 3:42 left. But McDermott took advantage of a favorable defensive matchup and kept Drake at bay from the free throw line and inside the paint.
McDermott hit all seven of his shots from the line in the second half, and his final two with 52 seconds left ended Drake's hopes for a comeback.
"(Simons) and (Rice) continue to be probably the best combination of wings in our league, and Kurt Alexander's really given us a shot in the arm off the bench at the right time. But again, I think you need to be operating on all cylinders and do a few more right things if you're going to beat a team like Creighton," Phelps said.
Drake fell behind 37-22 in the first half, relying on Rice and Simons for nearly all its scoring. Rice and Simons helped the Bulldogs pull within 46-44 early in the season half. Rice was aggressive in attacking the basket during that run, which McDermott halted with a crucial 3-point play.
The Bluejays' defense stiffened from there and Manigat, given a second chance for a 3 from the same spot in the corner, drilled it to put Creighton up 56-46 with 9:27 left.
Manigat went 5 of 7 from 3-point range and put up his best scoring effort since the second game of the season against Chicago State.
"I felt like we got the shots that we needed to keep pace and they didn't go down," Phelps said. "The margin for error when you're playing Creighton is pretty small."
The Bulldogs entered play in the middle of the Valley pack as one of three teams behind Creighton and Wichita State. But Drake had won 13 of its past 14 at home dating back to past season and four of its past five since early January.
The Bulldogs led just once in the first half — and that only served to wake up Creighton.
McDermott gave the Bluejays the lead back at 18-17 on a tough bank shot near the baseline. Manigat then banked in a 3, and Creighton reeled off 10 straight points to take early control.
McDermott warmed up as the half went along, making a 3 to help put the Bluejays ahead 37-22. McDermott had 13 at the break — one more than he had in both halves of Creighton's blowout of Indiana State last weekend — and Creighton led 37-26.