FULLERTON, Calif. -- San Diego State overcame an early 12-point deficit and the hot hand of Doug McDermott to post an 86-80 win over No. 20 Creighton Men's Basketball on Friday.
SDSU improves to 4-1 and advances to the championship game of the DirecTV Wooden Legacy on Sunday vs. No. 25 Marquette. Creighton (5-1) will play for third-place in a 5:30 pm Central contest against George Washington (5-1) on Sunday in a game that will air on ESPNU.
Just as it did one night earlier against Arizona State, Creighton stormed out of the gates. The Jays made their first four three-point attempts, including three in a row from McDermott, and led 14-2 after just 4:10 of action.
McDermott would score 16 points in a row as Creighton led 19-7 early, but SDSU weathered the barrage and would tie the score at 22-all on Matt Shirgley's second three-pointer with 9:03 left in the half. Keyed by eight straight points from Xavier Thames, SDSU went ahead 34-28 to force a Bluejay timeout with 3:33 left in the first half, and closed the half on a 12-2 run to lead 40-30 at the half.
McDermott led CU with 16 at the half, while Thames had 13. The Aztecs dominated the boards in the opening 20 minutes, 22-13, and outscored CU's bench 11-0.
McDermott scored for the first points of the second half before an 11-0 flurry from the Aztecs had the "neutral" crowd roaring. Just like that, it was 51-32 SDSU, part of a 23-4 blitz from SDSU.
Creighton used a 7-0 run to close within nine points at 51-42 after a three-ball from Ethan Wragge, then got within eight on a lay-up by Grant Gibbs with 9:50 left.
SDSU would quietly build its lead from the free-throw line, getting 10-of-12 points in one seven minute stretch, before CU rallied. Consecutive hoops by Gibbs, followed by Wragge's fifth trey of the half, got the Jays within five at 70-65 with 3:41 left. A three-point play by McDermott and offensive stickback by Gibbs made it 73-70 with 2:35 left.
Creighton would get within three points four times, only to have SDSU answer each time.
Down three points, CU had one great chance with 27.2 left after an offensive foul. Creighton called its final timeout. CU found McDermott, who missed a short hook shot amidst contact. Gibbs got the offensive rebound and was grabbed, but no call was made. Gibbs then fouled out with 18.9 left, fouling Thames. He split two shots, before Devin Brooks hustled up court and turned it over, spoiling CU's best last chance.
McDermott led Creighton with 30 points, while Wragge finished with 15 and Chatman 11. Creighton shot 48.4 percent from the field (30-62) and 48.1 percent from three-point range (13-27). The Jays got 24 bench points after halftime and outscored SDSU 24-21 from its reserves overall.
Thames led SDSU with a career-high 26 points, one of five Aztecs in double-figures. Winston Shepard had 16 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double, while JJ O'Brien added 15 points. The Aztecs made 46.4 percent of its shots from the field and half of its 16 three-point attempts.
NOTES: Doug McDermott has now scored 20 or more points in eight straight games dating to last season, and now owns 30 points in three games this winter ...Creighton had won 60 straight games when leading by double-digits at any point ... Creighton had been 40-2 in games when Doug McDermott had 15 points or more in a half. He had 16 today in the first half ... SDSU is now 38-2 in its last 40 games when leading at half ...Creighton had won 30 straight games when Will Artino had a missed field goal attempt before Friday ... Creighton had been 30-1 under Greg McDermott when Ethan Wragge made at least half his three-point attempts before Friday.
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