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Tournament MVP Doug McDermott
Courtesy: Brandon McKenna

Men's Basketball Wins Las Vegas Invite, 87-73 Over ASU

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Creighton opened up a 27-9 lead in the opening eight minutes and never trailed in a 87-73 win over previously unbeaten Arizona State to win the 12th Annual Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic on Saturday night.

Creighton improved to 6-0 on the season, while ASU fell to 4-1. It's the third tournament the Bluejays have won in 12 months, joining the 2012 MVC Tournament and the Dale Howard Classic last November.

It's the first time since 1928-29 that Creighton has opened the season with six straight double-digit wins, and the Jays are the only team in the country that has done that this season thus far.

All-American Doug McDermott, who scored 30 points last night vs. Wisconsin, had 29 points on Saturday to earn Tournament MVP honors. Junior teammate Ethan Wragge joined him on the All-Tourney squad.

Creighton blazed out of the gates to a 7-0 lead in the opening 76 seconds, prompting a quick Sun Devils timeout. Grant Gibbs scored off the tip, and Gregory Echenique would lay it in the next trip down to make it 4-0. Jahenns Manigat then buried a corner trey. ASU got to within 12-5, only to see CU blow the game open with a pull-up jumper by Andre Yates and consecutive treys from Wragge and Josh Jones that made it 20-7.

Creighton's lead reached as large as 27-9 on a McDermott basket with 11:52 to go in the first half before ASU mounted its comeback. The Sun Devils used two three-pointers and a three-point play during an 11-0 flurry.  ASU got as close as six points on three occasions, but at the half Creighton would lead 45-36 behind 19 points from McDermott.

Jahii Carson rallied the Sun Devils back, scoring eight of ASU's first 17 points after the break to draw his team back to within 59-53 with 11:56 remaining. At that media timeout, CU head coach Greg McDermott challenged his team to get some stops. His team was up to the challenge, getting four straight stops while putting together an 8-0 run to make it 67-53 with under 10 minutes to go.

The teams played through a bevy of fouls that eliminated post players on both sides before Jonathan Gilling's three-pointer with 3:21 left trimmed the CU lead to just 75-69.

Austin Chatman would foul out with 2:47 to play and CU leading 77-71, but CU's bench saved the day. Wragge drained a trey, then Josh Jones had a driving lay-up that returned the lead to double-digits, 84-71, with 1:08 remaining, and CU would hold on from there.

McDermott played 38 minutes and led CU with 29 points and nine rebounds, in addition to two steals. Wragge finished with 13 points in 19 minutes to also finish in double-figures. Five other men had between seven and nine points, while Jones tallied a team-best three steals. Creighton shot 47.6 percent from the floor, including 8-of-23 from downtown, and were also 19-of-25 at the line. The Jays outrebounded ASU 24-12 after half and won the rebound battle on the night by a 41-30 margin.

ASU was paced by 30 from Carson, who also added seven assists and four steaals. Carrick Felix had 17 points and five rebounds. 7-foor-2 center Jordan Bachynski, who entered the game averaging a double-double and 6.5 blocks per game, was held to eight points and two rebounds and did not block a shot. ASU shot 43.4 percent for the contest and were 21-of-28 at the line.

The game featured 47 fouls, as three men were disqualified in the contest.

Creighton returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts Boise State (4-1) at 7:05 pm. That game will be broadcast on Cox 2 and will be part of the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Conference Challenge Series.

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