Wichita St. 67, No. 12 Creighton 64

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 19, 2013
Carl Hall had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Malcolm Armstead hit two key free throws in the closing seconds to help Wichita State hold off beat Doug McDermott and No. 12 Creighton 67-64 on Saturday to forge a tie atop the Missouri Valley. Cleanthony Early added 13 points and Demetric Williams had 10 for the Shockers (17-2, 6-1 MVC), who pushed their home-court winning streak to 17 games. McDermott finished with 25 points for the Bluejays (17-2, 6-1), but he never got the ball with the game on the line. Instead, Ethan Wragge misfired on a potential tying 3 with 6 seconds left, and then had another chance when Hall missed two free throws at the other end. This time, Wragge's shot from the top of the key clanked off the back of the rim. Grant Gibbs finished with 14 points for the Bluejays, who trailed almost the entire way while having their 11-game winning streak snapped. Creighton hadn't lost since Nov. 28. Hall gave the Shockers a 65-63 lead when he made the second of two free throws with 48.3 seconds left, but Gibbs - a 67 percent free throw shooter - only made one of two with 25.3 seconds to go, allowing the Shockers to cling to a lead and forcing Creighton to foul. Wichita State got the ball to Anthony on the inbounds, and after getting fouled, he calmly made both free throws for a 67-64 lead with 15.3 seconds left. That set up Wragge's two misfires, the second as the final horn sounded. It was little surprise that a game between last season's regular-season champion, Wichita State, and tournament champion Creighton would come down to the wire. They have played 29 games decided by 12 or fewer points since 1994-95. The Shockers were thankful to have Hall back in the lineup. The senior forward had energy to burn after missing seven games with a thumb injury, at one point scoring six straight points for the Shockers underneath. Later in the half, he missed two layups and got two offensive boards before finally scoring for a 25-19 lead. Hall was also doing his duty on defense, one of several defenders that Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall attached to McDermott throughout the game. After scoring 39 points against Missouri State and 31 in a win over Northern Iowa, the son of Creighton coach Greg McDermott struggled just to find enough space to put up a shot. McDermott was just 3 of 8 from the field before Gibbs found him at the top of the key for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, pulling the Bluejays within 36-33 at halftime. The Shockers were just 3 of 15 from the 3-point line in the first half, but they only committed four turnovers and kept the Bluejays from going on a big run. Creighton tied the game 38-all early in the first half, only for the Shockers to put together a quick run. Early poured in a 3-pointer and then popped a jumper right over McDermott, helping the Shockers extend their lead to 49-42 with 15:15 left in the game. That's when Creighton's run finally happened. McDermott's basket and an open 3-pointer by Gibbs from the wing helped to trigger a 10-2 charge, and a jumper by Austin Chatman gave the Bluejays their first lead at 52-51 with 11:28 left. Buoyed by a capacity crowd of 10,506, the Shockers refused to give in, and a flagrant foul on Gibbs sent Tekele Cotton to the foul line and helped Wichita State pull back ahead. The Bluejays got within 64-63 when they took advantage of a 5-on-4 situation with Early, who had landed hard and hit his head, still rolling around under the other basket. McDermott scored with a baseline jumper with 2:17 left in the game. It was the last basket he would make in the game.
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