LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Doug McDermott scored a season-high 30 points,
Ethan Wragge added 17 off the bench and Austin Chatman had a
career-high 14 points as No. 14 Creighton improved to 5-0 with a 84-74
win over Wisconsin on Friday evening in the 12th Annual Continental Tire
Las Vegas Invitational.
Creighton will advance to Saturday's 10 pm Central championship game
against Arizona State, which beat Arkansas 83-68 in the first semifinal.
Scoring was fast an furious in the opening 13 minutes, with the teams
exchanging seven lead changes and five ties as it was tied at 25-all.
McDermott had nine points and Wragge eight early on to help the Jays.
Wisconsin broke free to take a 34-29 lead and prompt a Greg McDermott
timeout, only to have the Jays answer with a Gregory Echenique putback
and a Chatman three-pointer, forcing a Wisconsin timeout.
The Badgers would take a 39-38 halftime lead, paced by 11 points from
Jared Berggren. Creighton was paced in the opening stanza by McDermott,
who had 13 points and five rebounds at the break. Creighton, which
entered the game shooting 57 percent from the field, hit just 14-of-37
shots in the opening period. CU did own the glass, 25-17, at the break.
Creighton didn't waste any time taking over early in the second half.
McDermott scored inside and Jahenns Manigat hit a three-pointer. After
two McDermott foul shots, Austin Chatman hit a corner trey, McDermott
hit two more foul shots and Josh Jones a lay-up, giving CU a 55-48 lead
with 13:27 left.
Berggren would help UW come back, scoring on a pair of putbacks to get
the Badgers within two, then adding two fouls shots to tie it with 10:03
to play at 55-all. The Badgers would actually take a 60-58 lead on two
more Berggren shots from the charity stripe. But CU's Wragge answered
with a triple, returing the Bluejay lead to 61-60 with 7:02 to go, and
it would not trail again.
Creighton consistently scored against UW's vaunted defense, building a
76-64 lead with 2:17 to play after four straight Grant Gibbs free
throws. Creighton would make its free throws down the stretch, sealing
its fourth straight win against the Big Ten in the last two seasons.
McDermott finished with 30 points and shared team-high rebounding honors
with Echenique with 8. Chatman scored 14 points and had just
one turnover in 36 minutes, while Wragge sank four treys and scored 17
overall in 19 minutes. The Jays shot 46.6 percent from the floor,
including 8-of-20 from behind the arc, and sank 22-of-23 free throws to
start the game before two misses in the final minute. The Jays
outrebounded UW 40-34 and outscored hte Badgers 30-24 in the paint.
UW was led by a career-high 27 points from Berggren on 9-of-14 shooting,
while Ryan Evans scored 15 and George Marshall tallied 13. The Badgers
shot 40.9 percent and were 8-of-27 from downtown.
Saturday's final will tip at 10 pm Central and air nationally on ESPNU.
NOTES: Creighton is 4-0 in the last two years against the Big Ten,
with Doug McDermott averaging 26.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in those
contests ... Creighton is now 10-5 in the last 15 years in its first
game away from home, including a 4-1 mark on neutral floors ... This was
Doug McDermott's eighth career game of 30 or more points, and 33rd
career game with 20 or more points ... Creighton won the Las Vegas
Classic in 2008 in its only prior entry in the event ... Creighton
improved to 2-0 when trailing at halftime this year and 15-12 under Greg McDermott ... All five of Creighton's wins have been by double-figures ... Wisconsin was ranked 24th in the USA Today coaches poll but not ranked in the Associated Press poll, while Creighton was 12th and 14th, respectively ... Creighton's 84 points were the most against Wisconsin since Ohio State had 93 on March 6, 2011, a span of 44 games.