Doug McDermott scored in bunches and Ethan Wragge delivered the critical 3-pointers. Together they kept Creighton marching on, right back where they'd promised they'd be. McDermott scored 30 points and Wragge made three huge momentum-changing shots in the second half, sending No. 3 seed Creighton to a tough 76-66 win over No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday in the West Regional. And with the win, the Bluejays advance to the third round the NCAA tournament, the very spot they've been forced out the last two years. ''It feels great to be back,'' McDermott said. ''This is what I came back for.'' It certainly didn't come easy. McDermott had a double-double by halftime but went scoreless for nearly 14 minutes of the second half, leaving it to Wragge's long shots to bail out the Bluejays from a potential upset by Ragin' Cajuns, who attacked Creighton (27-7) with fearless defense and rebounding. Sun Belt tournament champion Louisiana-Lafayette (23-12) led 50-48 before Wragge struck from long range to spark Creighton's push that finally put it away. ''We got away with one today,'' McDermott said. ''We have a veteran team and showed that down the stretch.'' The win also means the Creighton family stays together on the court for a few more days at least. McDermott opted against going to the NBA after last season to play one more year with his father, Creighton coach Greg McDermott. Everything is paying off so far. Doug's senior season has been nothing short of individually spectacular as the nation's leading scorer is a favorite for just about every national player of the year award. He's also now scored at least 30 points in four of Creighton's last five games. The question is, just how far can he carry the Bluejays through the next few weeks before his college career is finally over? Louisiana-Lafayette hadn't been to the NCAA tournament since 2000 and certainly weren't intimidated by McDermott. Junior guard Elfrid Payton scored 24 points and took the lead in defending him, a tenacious effort that stifled Creighton's star for much of the second half. ''Coming into the game we felt like it was in reach. From the opening tip we got on a good run, took the lead,'' Payton said. ''I think I did a good job keeping of him uncomfortable.''
Creighton Advances with 76-66 Win over Louisiana-Lafayette
GoCreighton.com | Mar 21