Creighton
Nevada
71 - 77 Final - OT
  for this game

Kemp, Nevada outlast Creighton in overtime thriller

Mar 17, 2007 - 1:08 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Marcelus Kemp and Nevada narrowly avoided becoming Creighton's latest first-round upset victim.

Kemp scored nine of his 27 points in overtime as the seventh-seeded Wolf Pack held on for a 77-71 victory over the 10th-seeded Bluejays in the NCAA Tournament's South Region.

The Western Athletic Conference regular-season champion, Nevada (29-4) was ousted by Utah State in the semifinals of its conference tournament last Friday.

The Wolf Pack looked sluggish again on Friday against Creighton (22-11), which posted a first-round upset of Louisville in 1999 and repeated the feat three years later against Florida.

The Bluejays had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Nate Funk's contested runner hit the front iron with three seconds left, forcing overtime.

"We got the ball in Nate Funk's hands at the end of regulation, and they made a pretty good defensive play to get a piece of it coming out of his hands," Creighton center Anthony Tolliver said.

But Kemp took over in the extra session, making a layup 18 seconds into overtime to make it 61-59 and give Nevada the lead for good.

"We played hard, we ran plays and we played defense," Kemp said. "It was a team effort and shots went in for us."

Creighton cut the deficit to 63-62 on Nick Porter's 3-point play with 3:31 left, but Kemp responded with a 3-pointer on the following possession to push Nevada's lead back to 66-62.

"They outplayed us in the overtime period," Funk said.

The Bluejays inched within three points on two separate occasions over the final minute, but Kemp calmly sank four free throws to seal the victory.

"We had a lot of guys play well and make plays at different times," Nevada coach Mark Fox said. "Certainly our balance was key for us because we did not have as efficient of an offensive night as we had hoped. But we found a way to win in the end."

Three-time WAC Player of the Year Nick Fazekas scored 17 points before fouling out while Ramon Sessions added 16 for Nevada, which will face second seed Memphis in Sunday's second round.

"I did not have any doubt at all that Marcelus or Kyle Shiloh could take over after I left and that's what they did," Fazekas said. "Coach Fox reassured me that he had my back and the guys on the team had my back and to be ready to go on Sunday."

"I knew our team could do it without Nick," Kemp added. "He has confidence in us, and we could do it."

Fazekas and Kemp had 11 and 12 rebounds apiece for the Wolf Pack, who crushed the Bluejays on the boards, 48-30.

"The rebounding was the difference in the game," Creighton coach Dana Altman said. "We had our opportunity and just didn't make enough plays."

Funk poured in 23 points for Creighton, which shot just 15 percent (3-of-20) from the arc.