13th-ranked Bluejays barrel through Drake
OMAHA, Neb. – Once Creighton got started, Drake couldn’t stop the Bluejays.
Ethan Wragge matched career highs with 22 points and six 3-pointers and No. 13 Creighton used a blistering start to beat the struggling Bulldogs 91-61 on Tuesday night.
Creighton’s first 19 possessions produced 39 points. The Bluejays led by 30 points in the first half, by 35 late in the second and finished with a season-high 16 3-pointers.
“We clearly ran into a buzzsaw of a basketball team tonight,” Drake coach Mark Phelps said. “The fast start really put us on our heels and we could not obviously over the course of the game recover from that. They were hitting 3s at a great pace. They played extremely well on offense. Combine that with some very poor shooting on our end, some questionable shot selection, and that’s how you have an outcome like you had tonight.”
Joey King scored 17 points and Jordan Clarke and Micah Mason had 11 apiece for Drake (6-9, 0-4 Missouri Valley Conference).
The Bulldogs, shooting just under 25 percent from 3-point range in their previous three games, started 1 for 10 from beyond the arc and finished 9 of 28. The Bulldogs shot 28 percent in the first half and 36 percent for the game.
Creighton shot 68 percent in the first half, 64 percent for the game and outrebounded Drake 40-22.
Ben Simons, the Bulldogs’ preseason All-MVC forward, was held to a season-low four points.
“Ben hasn’t been playing great lately,” Phelps said. “They clearly were hugging Ben like they have in the past. He started off slowly in terms of shooting and never got on track. They do a great job. That’s how they guard shooters. He hasn’t played as well this year as he has last year. Every year is different.”
Doug McDermott scored 16 points, Jahenns Manigat had 13 and Grant Gibbs 10 for the Bluejays (15-1, 4-0), who won their ninth straight game.
Creighton has won 71 straight against opponents .500 or worse.
Wragge, who had been averaging 9.0 points a game, went over 20 for the second time in three games.
McDermott made his first six shots, scored 14 points in the first 11 minutes and took only two more shots. He added three assists and a team-high seven rebounds.
Austin Chatman had nine assists, and the Bluejays finished with a season-best 28 on 34 field goals.
The Bluejays came in leading the country with 9.5 3-pointers a game. They had nine on 12 attempts in the first 15 minutes.
Gibbs, McDermott, Manigat, Wragge and Avery Dingman each made one in the opening 7 minutes to help the Bluejays break out to a 25-4 lead.
Wragge’s third 3-pointer made it a 30-point game with 6 minutes left in the half, and it was 49-25 at halftime.
Gregory Echenique dunked an alley-oop pass for a second straight game for his only two points. Will Artino slammed a lob pass from Chatman for his first dunk of the season.
Wragge, the 3-point specialist, showed some rare inside moves. He cut to the hoop to take entry passes from McDermott for only his third and fourth 2-point field goals of the season.