Creighton rode a hot-shooting start and held on to defeat Oregon, 84-76, in game one of the College Basketball Invitational’s best-of-3 championship series, played before an event record crowd of 12,381.
The series now shifts to Eugene, Ore., where game two will be played at Matthew Knight Arena on Wednesday (9 pm Central). Game three, if necessary, would also be in Eugene on Friday at 9 pm Central.
Both teams came out red-hot from the field, with Creighton making its first six shots (including five three-pointers) to lead 21-13 at the first media timeout. The Jays were led by nine early points from Jahenns Manigat, while Antoine Young dished four assists early on.
Creighton led 44-37 at the half. shooting 59.3 percent from the field (16-27), while Oregon shot an even 50 percent (14-28). Creighton was led by 11 points from Doug McDermott, while fellow frosh Manigat had nine at intermission and Echenique eight points and and a game-high five boards. Oregon was paced by eight points from Jay-R Strowbridge.
The Jays opened up their largest lead of the night at 58-41 at the 16:09 mark after finishing off a 12-0 run that had the fans on their feet applauding Manigat’s hustle and McDermott’s nifty inside moves. But just as quickly, Oregon closed the gap. The Ducks took advantage with Young out of the game and got within six points at 63-57. But Young returned, and so did CU’s lead. Kenny Lawson Jr. threw down a dunk over two defenders, then assisted for a Gregory Echenique jump hook in the lane, as Creighton’s lead reached 70-59 under eight minutes.
Creighton struggled at the line down the stretch, and Oregon capitalized, drawing within 76-72 with 2:31 left on a Joevan Catron jumper as part of a 7-0 run. Creighton ended that drought with a free throw by Echenique and two more by Young, only to have Strowbridge sink a corner triple with 1:30 left to bring UO within four again, 79-75. The Jays came out of a timeout and Josh Jones drained a three-pointer to give Creighton a seven-point lead. Down six, Oregon forced a turnover with 46 secnods left, but McDermott hustled back to block E.J. Singler’s breakaway lay-up. A stunned Ducks team then took another 20 seconds before fouling Manigat, who iced the game with two foul shots.
Creighton was led by 21 points from McDermott, while Echenique had 15 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots. Also in double-figures with 11 points each were Manigat and Jones. Young had eight assists, while Manigat added a career-high seven dimes. The Jays shot 54.9 percent for the night, dished 21 assists on 28 baskets, and outrebounded the Ducks 34-30.
Oregon had five men in double-figures, led by 15 points from Catron and 14 each from Garret Sim and Strowbridge. Singler and Jonathan Loyd each finished with 10 points. Singler had a double-double with 10 rebounds, while Catron fell one rebound short of his fourth straight double-dip, finishing with nine caroms. Oregon shot 45.3 percent for the night, and made 10-of-26 from long-range.