OMAHA, Neb. -- National Player of the Year candidate Doug McDermott had 41 points to lead Creighton to its first outright MVC title since 2001 in a 91-79 win over Wichita State on Saturday.
With the win, Creighton (24-7, 13-5 MVC) clinched its eighth outright MVC regular-season
title in program history, and 15th overall. The victory also
clinches the top seed at next week's MVC Tournament in St. Louis, Mo.,
where Creighton will play at 12:05 pm on Friday against the winner of
Thursday's night match-up of the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds.
Wichita State (24-7, 12-6 MVC) lost its second straight and will be the No. 2 seed at Arch Madness.
McDermott had a hot hand early, making his first five attempts and scoring 12 points as the Jays bolted to a 15-8 lead. Wichita State would use an 8-0 run to take its first lead at 20-19 on a three-pointer by Tekele Cotton with 7:17 left in the first half. CU got scores from McDermott and Will Artino inside to go ahead 23-20, but WSU once again responded with a 7-0 run that included a second personal foul on Grant Gibbs.
Creighton would close the first half on a 9-2 run to take a 36-31 margin into the intermission. McDermott was perfect in the first half, making all seven shots and three free throws for a game-high 18 at the break. WSU was paced by eight points and six rebounds from Carl Hall in the first half.
McDermott opened the second half with another trey, only to have Tekele Cotton answer to jump start a 7-0 run for WSU. The Jays kept going inside, and McDermott and Gregory Echenique kept the pressure on WSU.
Creighton iced the game with an 11-2 run with McDermott getting a rest. Back-to-back three-pointers by Ethan Wragge, followed by an Austin Chatman trey, whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and forced a Shocker timeout with CU leading 66-54. The lead stretched to 69-54 after Gibbs threw in a high-arching triple to beat the shot clock.
The Shockers responded with their fourth run of the game, this one a 9-0 flurry to trim CU's lead to seven, but the Jays recalled their offensive proficiency from December and it was too much for WSU. McDermott drained three-pointers on consecutive possessions to push CU's lead back to 77-66, and CU would maintain a double-digit lead the rest of the way to please the crowd of 18,613.
McDermott was perfect in 10 attempts from two-point range and finished 15-for-18 overall to score his 41 points. It was the second-highest total of his career, trailing only the 44 he put up at Bradley last season. He was also perfect in six free-throw attempts and added six rebounds and three blocks.
Also in double-figures for CU were Gibbs (12 points, eight assists) and Austin Chatman (12 points, six assists). Creighton's 70.2 percent shooting from the field was the nation's sixth-best mark this season and included 22-of-26 marksmanship from two-point range.
WSU was paced by 18 points from Demetric Williams, who also had a team-best six assists. Hall finished with 15 points, while Tekele Cotton (14) and Cleanthony Early (11) also reached double-figures. The Shockers shot 52.7 percent from the floor, but were outrebounded for just the third time all season (24-21).
NOTES: The contest was the first home game in Creighton history between teams with 23 or more wins ...Creighton honored Josh Jones, Taylor Stormberg, Grant Gibbs, Gregory Echenique and Joe Kelling after the game for Senior Day, as well as senior managers Michael Vandevoort and Colin Brittan ...Creighton is 36-14 in the last 50 meetings vs. Wichita State ...Creighton has won each of its last 17 Senior Days (when it has a senior) ...Creighton's 53 wins since the start of the last season are the most for any two-year span in program history ...The win was the 225th as a Division I head coach for Greg McDermott ...Creighton's 15 MVC regular-season titles (8 outright, 7 shared) are tied for the most in league history with Oklahoma State ...Doug McDermott is the first player in Creighton history to have multiple seasons of 700 points, and first MVC player to do it since Bradley's Hersey Hawkins (1986-88) ...Doug McDermott's 724 points this year make him the nation's only player with 700 or more points this year ...McDermott's 15 field goals were a CenturyLink Center Omaha record for a Creighton player.
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