Jays Take Valley Tournament, NCAA Berth With 68-65 Win

By: WOWT Email
By: WOWT Email

Creighton had four players in double-figures in a 68-65 win over Wichita State in the title game of the MVC Tournament Sunday afternoon in St. Louis.

Creighton (27-7) won its 12th MVC Tournament title in program history while going back-to-back for the third time. The Jays are now 9-0 all-time in MVC Tournament championship games in St. Louis while Wichita State fell to 26-8 on the year and 0-3 in St. Louis finals.

Both teams struggled from the field in the opening five minutes, going a combined 0-for-15 by the first media timeout. The Shockers wouldn't make their first bucket until Nick Wiggins breakaway lay-up with 13:14 left in the first half.

With Ethan Wragge leading the way, Creighton used a 13-4 run to open up a 19-7 lead. Wragge hit three three-pointers in the flurry, which also included a put back from Grant Gibbs and a dunk by Gregory Echenique. Just as quickly WSU got back into the game with four baskets from Malcolm Armstead during a 10-2 run.

Armstead's steal and lay-up gave WSU its first lead at 28-27 with 2:12 left in the first half, only to have Wragge respond with his fourth triple of the first half to give Creighton a 30-28 lead at the break.

CU went to the perimeter early in the second half. Back-to-back three-pointers by Jahenns Manigat gave the Jays a 44-35 lead with 15:00 to play and a Gibbs triple from the corner made is 52-43 with 11:15 remaining. CU's lead reached 54-44 with 8:22 left on a Doug McDermott free throw.

WSU threw a late scare into the Jays as Armstead and Ron Baker would drain consecutive three-pointers to trim CU's lead to 66-61 with 2:28 to play. A Carl Hall free-throw followed by three-pointer from Armstead cut CU's edge to one with 43.4 left, but a Manigat basket with :11 left pushed the lead to three and Armstead's tying three attempt at the buzzer was off the mark.

Manigat scored a season-best 16 points and Wragge had 15 points. McDermott, who missed six of his first seven shots, was held to 14 points, 10 below his average. He was still honored as the tournament MVP.

Armstead scored a season-high 28 points with nine rebounds.

The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will take place next Sunday at 5 p.m.

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