Saturday’s box score
|Creighton 91, Wichita St. 79|
Percentages: FG .527, FT .778. 3-Point Goals: 7-21, .333 (Cotton 4-5, Armstead 2-5, Williams 1-7, Early 0-4). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 2 (Hall, Orukpe). Turnovers: 10 (Early 2, Williams 2, Wiggins, Hall, Armstead, Orukpe, Cotton). Steals: 11 (Cotton 4, Armstead, Williams, Van Vleet, Hall, White, Early, Orukpe). Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .702, FT .875. 3-Point Goals: 11-21, .524 (McDermott 5-8, Wragge 3-4, Gibbs 1-2, Chatman 1-2, Dingman 1-3, Manigat 0-2). Team Rebounds: 0. Blocked Shots: 0. Turnovers: 13 (Gibbs 4, McDermott 3, Chatman 2, Kelling, Dingman, Yates, Manigat). Steals: 2 (Manigat, Wragge). Technical Fouls: None.
Att.– 18,613. Officials– Hal Lusk, Terry Davis, Randy Heimerman.
Each game matters
Wichita State did a lot of heavy lifting early in the season to build a strong NCAA Tournament resume. Now the Shockers are holding on and hoping a two-game losing streak doesn’t turn into three.
Coach Gregg Marshall said he felt good after the BracketBusters win over Detroit. Losses to Evansville and Creighton didn’t shake his faith. A win Friday in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament will make all the Shockers feel better about their credentials.
“I don’t want to take chances,” Marshall said. “If we lose three in a row … Who knows? I don’t want to go there. We need to go and win some games. Just to dispel any doubt about our resume.”
Leave him open
Creighton gave Tekele Cotton all the shots he wanted in the first meeting, barely bothering to guard him. He missed all 10 of his shots in WSU’s 67-64 win on Jan. 19.
Cotton turned that scouting report into rubble with Saturday’s performance. He scored 14 points, making 4 of 5 three-pointers.
“I was expecting it and I was ready for it,” Cotton said.
Since that first meeting with Creighton, Cotton is 14 of 25 from three-point range to raise his season percentage to 35.4 percent (17 of 48).
“People started not guarding him, and he’s obviously worked at it since then,” Marshall said. “He’s a prideful kid.”
The Shockers also got an out-of-the-ordinary scoring boost from forward Call Hall who stepped out to around 15 feet to make several jump shots. Hall scored 15 points, making 5 of 8 shots.
Wichita State’s last two visits to Omaha helped draw the biggest crowds to the CenturyLink Center.
Last season, WSU defeated Creighton 89-68 in front of 18,735 fans. Saturday’s crowd of 18,613 ranks second. A 2008 game against WSU ranks eighth with a crowd of 17,954.
The crowd, which directed a lot of verbal abuse at Marshall, and the margin of victory didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for the rivalry. He concluded his news conference by saying that the schools should play a non-conference game, should Creighton depart the Missouri Valley Conference for the Big East.
79, not 80
The confusion over the final score (which read 91-80 on the arena scoreboard and box scores) resulted from Tekele Cotton's free throws in the final seconds. He was credited with making one, when he missed both. After a review of the video, Creighton corrected the final score.
The loss ended WSU’s two-game win streak in Omaha.… Creighton’s Doug McDermott scored 41 points, three shy of his career high, set against Bradley in 2012. Creighton center Chad Gallagher scored 40 points against WSU in 1990.… Creighton won its 15th MVC title, tying Oklahoma State for the most in conference history. It won its first outright title since 2001.… WSU forward Jake White scored nine points, most since he scored 11 against Bradley on Jan. 26.… Creighton out-rebounded WSU 24-21, the third time this season a team out-rebounded the Shockers.
— Paul Suellentrop