Men's Basketball Rally Stuns San Diego State, 85-83
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Creighton overcame a 17-point first half deficit and a sold-out crowd of 12,414 fans at Viejas Arena on Wednesday night to post an 85-83 victory over San Diego State, the defending Mountain West Conference champions.
Creighton improved to 6-0 on the year, while SDSU suffered a rare home defeat and fell to 7-2.
Doug McDermott led Creighton with 25 points and 12 rebounds in his second straight double-double, while teammates Ethan Wragge (19) and Antoine Young (18) also poured in season-high point totals. McDermott, who had 31 points and 11 rebounds last Friday in a win over Campbell, is CU's first player with consecutive games of 20+ points and 10+ rebounds since Mike Amos in 1992.
San Diego State scored the first six points of the game to put Creighton on its heels from the start, and the Aztecs would lead the rest of the half. The Jays trailed just 19-14 before SDSU exploded for a 12-0 run that took just 105 seconds to complete. All of the sudden, Creighton was down 31-14 with 6:43 left in the first half and starters Gregory Echenique and Grant Gibbs benched with two fouls.
Creighton tried to answer behind two treys and a traditional three-point play from Wragge, to get within 10 at 35-25. The Jays then ratcheted up the defense, holding SDSU to two field goals in the final five minutes of the half, and McDermott scored the final eight points as CU closed with a 16-4 run to get within 39-35 at half.
McDermott led all players with 14 points and eight rebounds in the first half, while Wragge had nine points by intermission. SDSU was led by 13 points from Xavier Thames in the first half, while Chase Tapley added 10 points and two steals for the hosts.
Creighton came out strong to start the second, tying the score for the first time all night at 46-all on a Jahenns Manigat triple. SDSU would once again attempt to break free and go ahead 56-48, only to see CU reel them in and tie the score at 62-all after a 5-0 run capped by a Young step-back jumper. Young then gave Creighton its first lead of the contest on a three-pointer with 6:34 left, 65-62. The Jays would not trail again.
With the score knotted at 69-all, Creighton would get a Wragge trifecta on its ensuing trip, going ahead 72-69 at the 3:41 mark. The Jays two-point lead then doubled to 76-72 on a Wragge tip-in of a McDermott miss. Young made two foul shots with 1:59 left to put CU up six, only to have SDSU's Jamaal Franklin drain a deep trey to make it a three-point CU lead.
Creighton countered with a McDermott score inside before James Rahon's corner trey trimmed CU's lead to 80-78 with 1:16 left. Young wasn't done, as he drove to the hoop and converted an off-balance lay-up to put CU up 82-78 with 58.0 seconds left. SDSU supersub Franklin then drilled another trey with a hand in his face with 48.6 seconds left to make it 82-81 CU.
The Jays called timeout with 28.8 seconds left and a one-point lead, with 16 seconds left on the shot clock. After the initial play broke down, Manigat beat his defender off the dribble and fed a cutting Wragge for the hoop, putting CU up 84-81 with 16.2 seconds left.
SDSU drove the lane and Xavier Thames was fouled with 7.3 seconds left. He made both free throws, and SDSU burned its final timeout. Manigat would be fouled with 5.5 seconds left, making the first to put CU up 85-83. He missed his second shot but hustled down the rebound and called timeout with 2.3 ticks left. The Jays would then inbound the ball to McDermott, who immediately dished it away and time expired and handed the Jays a huge road win.
McDermott made 9-of-17 field goals and 5-of-6 at the line to finish with a game-best 25 points. He also added 12 rebounds and took a pair of charges. Wragge had 19 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes, while Young had 18 points and four assists without a turnover. Also playing big off the bench for CU was reserve guard Austin Chatman, who dished six assists in 14 minutes. Creighton shot 47.0 percent for the game, including 9-of-20 from downtown (45.0 percent) and 66.7 percent at the line (14-21). Creighton won the rebound battle 39-37 and owned 18 assists against just eight turnovers.
SDSU was led by 21 points from Thames, who also added a team-high six assists. Franklin had 19 points and eight rebounds off the bench, while SDSU guards Chase Tapley (15 points) and Rahon (11) also reached double-figures. The Aztecs were 30-64 (46.9 percent) from the floor, 7-of-15 from long-range and 16-of-24 at the line (66.7 percent) for the night.
Creighton returns home on Sunday with a 4:05 pm game against Nebraska (4-2).
NOTES: This was the first of eight games in the 2011 Mountain West/Missouri Valley Conference Challenge Series ... Creighton is now 1-2 in the event, while SDSU fell to 2-1 in the series ... Ethan Wragge's tip-in at the 5:34 mark of the first half was his first two-point field goal attempt of the season ... Creighton hadn't trailed at halftime this season before Wednesday ...Creighton has made at least one three-pointer in 580 straight games ... Doug McDermott became the first Bluejay with five straight games of 20 or more points since Rodney Buford in 1998 ... Illinois State grad Steve Fisher fell to 6-1 in his coaching career against MVC teams ... SDSU dropped to 86-12 at home in the past seven years, including a 38-3 mark at home the past 41 contests ... Creighton's last true road win before a crowd of 12,000 or larger came Dec. 11, 2004 at Nebraska ... Gregory Echenique's streak of 17 straight games with a blocked shot was snapped ... SDSU had won 48 straight games against unranked (Associated Press) teams and its 41 wins since the start of last season is tied for most nationally with Ohio State ... Doug McDermott has scored 25 points or more in four straight games ... The Aztecs had their 27-game non-conference home winning streak snapped ... The win was Creighton's first away from home after trailing by more than 16 points since at least 2000. Creighton overcame a 16-point deficit to win at Drake on Feb. 4, 2006.