Bluejays Open MVC Tournament With 65-53 Win

Doug McDermott became the leading scorer in Creighton history and had five points during a pivotal 15-2 run as top-seeded Creighton defeated Drake 65-53 Friday afternoon in the first quarterfinal of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis.

Creighton improved to 25-7 and advances to play Saturday in a 1:35 p.m. semifinal against Indiana State. The Sycamores edged Evansville 51-50. Drake, which defeated Bradley in the play-in round just 18 hours earlier, fell to 15-17.

CU broke open a 12-all game with some strong play by Will Artino to key a 7-0 run. The sophomore center from Iowa came off the bench and dunked to start a traditional three-point play. McDermott would follow with a jumper to tie the scoring record and Artino answered with another bucket to make it 19-12 with 11:43 left in the first half.

McDermott's history-making point came at the free-throw line when he sank a shot with 4:43 left in the first half. It gave him 2,117 career points, passing Rodney Buford's career mark that had stood since 1999 and moving him into 10th in MVC history.

The Jays led 33-26 at the half, paced by 13 points from McDermott. CU dominated the glass 22-13, the paint (16-10) and the second chance points (9-0) in the first 20 minutes while also outscoring DU 12-3 off the bench.

Creighton would take its first double-digit lead at 45-35 on a pair of Artino free throws with 13:41 to go. Drake countered with a 9-2 run and missed a tying trey by Richard Carter with about 10:00 to play. The Jays answered as Echenique threw down a powerful alley-oop during a three-point play and the lead returned to 54-46 a short time later on Austin Chatman's first score of the second half and a McDermott hoop in transition to move ahead by eight with 7:54 to go.

After a timeout, McDermott hit his third trifecta of the day and Echenique's third three-point play made it 60-46 with 6:11 to go. Gibbs ended the run with two charity shots and the Jays would keep Drake off the scoreboard for nearly seven minutes to pull away.

McDermott led all players with 23 points while also grabbing seven rebounds. He made 3-of-4 three attempts from three-point range. Echenique approached a double-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and four swats, with most of that production after halftime. Artino complemented Echenique inside by tying his career-high with 13 points and adding six rebounds.

Drake was paced by 13 points from Seth VanDeest while Richard Carter had 12 points and four assists.


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