The Kennesaw State men's basketball team hung around with Creighton for a half, but the Bluejays opened the second on a 20-2 run to pull away from the Owls on Tuesday for a 81-55 season-opening victory.
The loss spoiled the debut of former Wheeler High School standout Amir Abdur-Rahim in his first game as a head coach.
After trading baskets to open the second half, Creighton started to pull away, taking advantage of a nearly 6 minute scoreless drought for the Owls to build a 59-33 lead. Freshman Armani Harris scored his first career basket, sparking a 7-3 run to make it 62-40.
That would prove to be as close as the Owls would get. The Bluejays shot over 54 percent from the floor in the second half and finished the game 12 of 25 from behind the arc.
"Like I said to the guys after the game, 'You guys are a lot better than you're giving yourselves credit for,' Abdur-Rahim said. "I'm not worried about Nov. 5, I want to get better each day. A few things I can take away is that when we trust each other we're pretty good. When we don't, we're not very good. We are only going to get better.
Creighton (1-0) opened the game going 5-for-5 from beyond the arc to lead 15-6. KSU (0-1) cut the lead to five with a quick 6-0 run, kicked off by a layup from Antonio Spencer, to make it 21-16.
The teams traded baskets as the Owls kept it within single-digits, 31-23, following a three-pointer and a dunk from Bryson Lockley with 4:39 left in the half. KSU closed the half with a jumper from Danny Lewis that began an 8-2 run in the final minutes to bring the Owls within 39-31 at the half.
"I liked a lot of the things we did," Abdur-Rahim said. "I feel really good about our guys and some of the things we hit on in our training camp from a standpoint of it's not about what happens it's how we respond.
Danny Lewis led the way for KSU with 15 points. Bryson Lockley and Tyler Hooker finished in double-figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Former Campbell High School standout Terrell Burden made his college debut and scored six points and pulled down a rebound. Former Pope star Drew Romich also made his Kennesaw State debut. The redshirt senior pulled down a rebound in three minutes of play.
The Owls continue their road trip through the Midwest with a matchup at Drake on Thursday night.