Creighton at its best when Wragge hitting his 3s

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 20, 2013
(Eds: Updates.) By ERIC OLSON AP Sports Writer Doug McDermott is Creighton's main attraction, yet it's the player who isn't even a starter who is often the difference between the Bluejays winning and losing. When 3-point specialist Ethan Wragge is on, they're almost unbeatable. When he's not, well, they aren't. Creighton's plan against Cincinnati (22-11) in the NCAA Midwest Regional in Philadelphia on Friday will be the same as in any other game. The Bluejays (27-7) want to get McDermott and center Gregory Echenique established inside first, which will allow the 6-foot-7 Wragge to do what he does best behind the 3-point line. ''He's a big difference-maker out there and a nightmare matchup for the opposing teams, especially if Cincinnati is going to pressure us a lot,'' McDermott said. ''I think he can get some open shots off the press or moving the ball around.'' Wragge is one of the nation's most prolific 3-point shooters, hitting 43.5 percent of his attempts with his distinct high and quick release. He and McDermott share the team lead with 74 3s, but Wragge, who plays just over 16 minutes a game, is on the court only half as much as McDermott. Wragge averages 7.7 points, and the Bluejays are 10-0 when he scores in double figures. Creighton is 28-1 the past three seasons when Wragge shoots better than 50 percent from long distance. In Creighton's 27 wins this season, Wragge shot 48.3 percent. That dropped to 22 percent in the Bluejays' seven losses. Wragge is well aware of the correlation. ''When we're moving the ball well as a team and I'm getting wide-open shots with my feet set,'' Wragge said, ''I think that shows a lot of things about our team. It means they're really focusing on Doug or they're focusing on Greg down low. If I'm able to make them pay, we do have a good chance to succeed.'' Wragge's importance showed up in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament title game against Wichita State. McDermott's shot was off, and he got into foul trouble. Wragge made three quick 3s early to help Creighton get the lead, and he finished with five 3s and a team-leading 15 points in the 68-65 win. ''I always have confidence in Ethan,'' coach Greg McDermott said. ''He's one of the best shooters I've ever coached and he's proven that over the course of his career. He's taken some tough shots. He has to because he doesn't get a lot of time to get his feet set and get those off sometimes.'' Wragge's modus operandi in Creighton's half-court offense is to find his way to the corner and look for his shot. He also is deadly hitting 3s as a trailer in transition, a role he took as a freshman under coach Dana Altman. ''It's a tough spot for other (power forwards) to guard because they're used to guarding down low or inside, and when you're able to shoot it, it catches some of them off guard,'' Wragge said. Wragge was the biggest player on his high school team in Eden Prairie, Minn., and did a lot of his scoring around the basket. He rarely steps inside the arc nowadays. Of his total shot attempts, 93.9 percent have come from 3-point range (170 of 181) - the highest rate of any player in the country with at least 100 attempts, according to STATS LLC. The drawback is that he isn't able to get to the free-throw line as much as he would like. He's 29 for 31 from the line this season and an 89.6-percent free-throw shooter for his career. Wragge said he knows, accepts and likes his role. With McDermott doing his thing, there isn't much call for Wragge to come off screens and shoot 15-foot jump shots. His job is to create space on the court and knock down his shots when the ball comes his way. Wragge takes exception to any suggestion he's not a complete player. Fans, he said, shouldn't think he looks at the 3-point arc as an electric fence that will zap him if he steps inside. ''They might not be used to seeing me shoot (2-pointers), but that doesn't mean I can't shoot it,'' he said. ''I'm a four-year college basketball player. Hopefully I can make a layup or a 2-pointer every so often.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kevin Love hurts shoulder after Kent Bazemore lands on it

Trump picks up endorsement from Lou Holtz, Gene Keady

Did Lakers commit tampering violation with Magic’s tweets?

Larry Bird, Pacers don’t sound committed to Frank Vogel

Justin Verlander, Kate Upton are engaged

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Josh Norman: Odell Beckham Jr. ‘trying to steal my bologna’

JJ Hardy reportedly out 6-8 weeks with fractured left foot

Title game hero Kris Jenkins returning to Villanova

University of Illinois is finally ready to find a new mascot

Luke Walton: D’Angelo Russell ‘can be a perennial All-Star’

Myles Jack: Fall out of first round was ‘humiliating’

WATCH: Billy Donovan plays dumb about SAS-OKC final play

Some questions about Space Jam 2 that need answers

Durant talks about getting name-drop on Drake's album

Hulk Hogan suing Gawker for leaking tape of racist rant

Randy Johnson to have street at Chase Field named after him

Five bizarre moments in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Barry Trotz is disappointed with Brooks Orpik suspension

Lou Lamoriello hopes the Leafs never get the first pick again

Questions for the second-round NBA playoffs series

Softball team loses title due to premature celebration

After avoiding losing, the Raptors can focus on winning

How the Sharks have 'weathered the storm' against the Predators

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five bizarre moments in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

How the Sharks have 'weathered the storm' against the Predators

Okay, who stole the Kansas City Royals player off that billboard?

Eight players to watch in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

A Round-By-Round Look At the NFL Draft

10 biggest takeaways from the NBA playoffs thus far

QUIZ: Name every No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft since 1985

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Sharks vs. Predators

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Blues vs. Stars

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Capitals vs. Penguins

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker