NORMAL, Ill. -- Ethan Wragge tied a season-high with 18 points and Grant Gibbs
added 16 points as Creighton defeated Illinois State, 79-72, in a
battle of the teams picked atop the preseason Missouri Valley Conference
men's basketball poll.
League favorite Creighton entered the game ranked 11th in the USA Today
coaches poll and were 16th in the Associated Press poll. The Jays are
now 13-1 and 2-0 in the MVC with their seventh straight win. ISU dropped
to 9-5 (0-2 MVC).
Tyler Brown buried consecutive three-pointers to give the Redbirds an
early 6-3 lead, only to see Gibbs answer with seven straight for
Creighton during an 8-0 run that saw the Jays move ahead 11-6. A short
time later Wragge came off the bench red-hot, sinking his first four
three-point attempts as Creighton took leads of 20-8 and 26-17.
Creighton would maintain a lead the rest of the half, going up 42-30 after consecutive treys from Jahenns Manigat and Wragge, only to see ISU end the half on a 9-0 run of its own in the final two minutes.
Wragge led CU with 15 points at the break, while Gibbs had 12 points
before picking up his second personal foul. The Jays sank 10-of-16
three-pointers in the opening half while making only five two-point
baskets and two free throws in taking a 42-39 edge into the locker room.
The teams continued their high-tempo action in the second half, and the
Redbirds would tie the game at 53-all on consecutive three-pointers by
Zeke Upshaw with 15:15 left. ISU took its first lead since 6-5 on a
three-pointer from Allen to go up 63-61 with 9:16 left, only to see CU
answer when Gregory Echenique turned in an old-fashioned three-point play.
The teams would play a tightly-contested battle the rest of the night.
ISU had a chance to tie with 3:53 left, only to have Kaza Keane miss a
free throw. Creighton then milked most of the shot clock before
Echenique scored inside to give CU a 71-68 lead with 3:17 left.
The teams would exchange several empty possessions before Austin Chatman
found McDermott for an alley-oop late in the shot clock, making it
73-68 with 1:24 to go. ISU cut that defiict to three on a dunk from
Jackie Carmichael with 54.7 left, and Creighton would turn it over with
46.7 to play.
Creighton's defense harassed ISU the next possession, and Carmichael
missed badly on a perimeter jumper. Gibbs grabbed the rebound and threw
it to Chatman, who was fouled with 14.8 left. He sank both to give CU a
five-point lead, only to see Tyler Brown answer with a quick score with
8.7 left. After ISU's final timeout, the Jays found McDermott, who was
fouled with 7.9 left. McDermott made two free-throws to ice it, and
Gibbs sank two more with 0.5 left to seal the deal.
Wragge led CU with 18 points, making 6-of-9 three-pointers in 21 minutes
of play. Gibbs had 16, while McDermott finished with 15 points and nine
rebounds. Also in double-figures with 12 points and five rebounds.
Chatman tallied seven points, seven rebounds, four assists and two
steals in the win. CU shot 52.8 percent from the floor, including
13-of-25 from downtown, while also making 10-of-12 fouls shots. The Jays
won the battle of the boards, 35-32.
ISU had four men in double-figures, paced by 15 each from Brown and
Allen. Carmichael finished with 10 points, while Upshaw had 11 points in
18 minutes. ISU shot 42.2 percent from the field and 13-of-28 from
three-point range, but sank only 5-of-10 foul shots.
Creighton returns home on Saturday when it hosts Indiana State in a 2:05 pm contest.
NOTES: Creighton's Doug McDermott was named ESPN.com's National Player of the Month for December earlier on Wednesday ...Creighton improved to 6-0 under Greg McDermott
against Illinois State, and McDermott has now won 11 straight vs. the
Redbirds ...Creighton has won 15 straight games against teams that wear
a shade of red ...Illinois State dropped to 0-8 all-time at Redbird
Arena against ranked teams and hasn't won in Normal vs. a ranked foe
since March 3, 1984 ...Creighton has won its first five games away from
home for the first time since 1999-00 ...Creighton's Doug McDermott
moved from 42nd to 40th on the all-time MVC scoring chart. He now owns
1,703 career points ...Creighton has won 17 straight vs. the Redbirds
when scoring 68 points or more ...Creighton's 13 three-pointers and 52.0
percent marksmanship from downtown were season-highs ...Creighton
hadn't trailed in the second half since Nov. 28th before trailing for
1:48 today after intermission. Creighton has trailed a total of 3:49 in
the past four games ...The game was Creighton's first this season
decided by less than 10 points.
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