DES MOINES, Iowa -- Fifteen days ago, 17th-ranked Creighton had little problem dispatching Missouri Valley Conference foe Drake in Omaha's CenturyLink Center, jumping out to a 24-point first-half lead on the way to a 91-61 home rout of the Bulldogs.
They weren't expecting such a role reversal in the encore.
Drake flipped the script on Creighton Wednesday night at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, building a 16-point first-half lead before holding on late for a 74-69 upset.
Creighton had two chances in the final minute to tie the game or take the lead, but missed a potential game-tying shot from close range and then turned the ball over with two seconds left, down three points with a chance to send the game to overtime.
The Bluejays were trying to get back in the win column following Saturday's 67-64 loss at No. 20 Wichita State and avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since February.
Drake, though, proved that it was up for the challenge this time, overcoming eight quick points by Iowa-native Doug McDermott to tie it 14-all with 12 minutes remaining in the half.
Bulldog reserve Richard Carter caught fire after that, drilling a pair of 3-pointers on consecutive trips down the floor to give Drake its first sustainable lead of night, 25-20.
Carter, who came off the bench to score 14 first-half points on 5 of 6 shooting, knocked down both of his 3-pointers from the left wing. The second shot seemed to ignite the home crowd, and the Bulldogs kept their foot on the throttle for the rest of the half.
Chris Hines and Jeremy Jeffers both hit 3-pointers to key Drake's 14-2 run to close the half and help the Bulldogs grab a surprising 44-28 lead into the break.
With a sellout crowd in attendance in part to see McDermott, the Naismith Award candidate who won a pair of high school state basketball titles just 38 miles north of Des Moines, in Ames, the junior poured in 17 first-half points to keep Creighton in striking distance.
And as expected, the Bluejays weren't about to go quietly. Creighton stormed back in the second half and closed within one when guard Austin Chatman hit a 3-pointer to make it 61-60 with just under eight minutes left to play.
McDermott scored the next time down the court to give Creighton its first lead of the half, but in a game that featured many lead changes, that lead didn't last long.
Down five with 32 seconds left, Creighton forward Grant Gibbs was fouled and converted a 3-point play to pull the Bluejays within two. Jahenns Manigat then stole the inbounds pass and called timeout, giving the Bluejays a chance to tie it or take the lead.
Gibbs tried to get the ball to McDermott underneath but was forced to drive the lane and missed from close range. Carter was fouled on the rebound with nine seconds left, and made one of two free throws, and on Creighton's next trip down the floor, Ben Simons stole the ball to end it.
McDermott finished with 21 points and Gibbs added 16 for Creighton, which came up short in its bid to improve to 18-2 for the second straight year.
Carter led the Bulldogs with 20 points.