Sophomore Doug McDermott had 26 points and 10 rebounds to lead the No. 25 Creighton men’s basketball team to a 68-61 win vs. Drake in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Creighton improves to 26-5 with its fifth straight win and earns a date into Saturday’s 4 pm semifinal vs. either Evansville or Missouri State. Drake, playing less than 24 hours after beating Bradley 65-49, fell to 17-15.
Drake went up 12-2 in the opening three minutes, making its first four shots and forcing a pair of early Bluejay turnovers. Just as quickly, Creighton picked up its play, scoring the next eight points to narrow the gap. The Jays tied it for the first time at 16-all at the 12:18 mark on a McDermott lay-in off a post feed from Avery Dingman.
The Jays went ahead for the first time at 22-20 on Antoine Young’s fourth basket of the half at the 8:56 mark. Creighton would take a 35-34 halftime lead when Young split between three men to hit an off-balance jumper just before the intermission buzzer. Young had 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the first half.
McDermott then got hot, scoring the first eight of Creighton’s points in a 10-2 run gave the Jays a 47-40 lead with 12 minutes to play. After a Drake score, Creighton pulled away with five more points, as McDermott scored inside before Josh Jones buried a corner trey that put CU up 52-42 at the 9:01 mark.
Drake made one last push, closing within 61-55 with 2:21 left, before McDermott’s offensive putback moved the lead back to seven. A Rayvonte Rice jumper got Drake back within six at 63-57 and two minutes left. After forcing a Bluejay turnover, Drake’s Jordan Clarke was fouled following an offensive rebound and sank one with 1:48 left to trim CU’s lead to five.
After CU missed the front end of a bonus, Rice scored out of a timeout to get Drake within 63-60. But McDermott stepped to the line and sank two foul shots with 1:07 to play. Alexander then missed a floater and Echenique was fouled with 47.8 left. He missed and Drake came down, but would miss three shots, the final one swatted out by Echenique.
With 31.4 left Young went to the line to seal it, putting the Jays up 67-60. DU’s Alexander split two free throws to make it a two-possession game, but Austin Chatman sealed it at the line.
McDermott’s 26 points and 10 rebounds were good for his 10th double-double of the year. He made 9-of-15 shots and 4-of-6 attempts from three-point range, his most trifectas in a game since Dec. 10th at Saint Joseph’s. Young made his first six shots and finished with 16 points while playing with the poise one would expect from a senior floor leader making his 103rd straight start. Also in double-figures was Gregory Echenique, who had 10 points and two blocked shots. Creighton shot 46.3 percnet for the game and 5-of-19 from three-point range. CU outrebounded Drake 37-35 for the day.
Drake was paced by 15 points from Rice, while Alexander had 14 points. Jordan Clarke and Ben Simons each talied 11, with all but five of those coming in the first half. Drake shot 40 percent and made a season-low 1-of-15 three-point tries. The Bulldogs used their bench for just 20 minutes and got two points and three rebounds from its reserves.