ST. LOUIS -- Nate Funk scored a season-high 33 points and Nick Porter had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead Creighton past Missouri State 75-58 in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament Saturday.
Second-seeded Creighton (21-10) advances to the championship game for the sixth time in the last nine years and will face No. 11 Southern Illinois. The Bluejays, who have won five of the last eight tournament titles, lost twice to Southern Illinois by a total of five points in the regular season.Funk, who led the Valley with a 17-point average, was 10-for-15 from the field and 10-for-10 from the line. In addition to topping his previous season best of 28 points at Nebraska, he added eight rebounds and three assists.Funk had 17 points in the first half to help the Bluejays take a 39-34 lead, and Creighton opened the second half on a 11-4 run to take control. Funk had eight of those points, including a jumper from near the 3-point line for a 50-38 lead.Blake Ahearn had 20 points and Deven Mitchell added 19 points and eight rebounds for Missouri State (22-10), held to 34.6 percent shooting with 15 turnovers.Anthony Tolliver added 13 points for Creighton, which beat Missouri State twice by a total of seven points in the regular season.The Bluejays bolted to an early 17-5 lead behind a strong defensive effort. Missouri State missed eight of its first nine shots over the first 4:41. But the Bears fought back to tie the game 28-28 on a pair of 3-pointers from Ahearn and two free throws by Dale Lamberth.Funk scored 21 and 23 points against Missouri State in two regular-season meetings.