NCAA BK

Creighton plans another NCAA tourney run in '12-13

Share This Story

   
 

OMAHA, Neb. (AP)

The Creighton Bluejays believe they can pick up next season right where they left off.

The Bluejays tied a school record with 29 victories and won their first NCAA tournament game in 10 years before losing 87-73 to North Carolina in Greensboro, N.C., on Sunday.

Point guard Antoine Young was the only scholarship senior on the team. Everyone else is expected to return, including Missouri Valley Conference player of the year Doug McDermott.

''We've accomplished a lot this year,'' guard Grant Gibbs said. ''I'm really proud of this group. We got Creighton basketball back on the map. We're going to build off this. We're going to get another shot at a team like (Carolina) down the road, and we'll be ready.''

The Bluejays knocked off three top-50 RPI teams, set a program record with 10 road wins and won the Missouri Valley tournament after finishing second to Wichita State in the regular season. With Wichita State losing four senior starters, Creighton should be the favorite to win the Valley next season and return to the NCAA tournament.

The Bluejays (29-6) were ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 for 12 of 19 weeks, topping out at No. 13 after 11 straight wins got them off to a 21-2 start. They went into the NCAA tournament ranked No. 19 and beat Alabama 58-57 as a No. 8 seed in the Midwest Regional.

Creighton, which shot 51 percent for the season, connected on only 41 percent against the Tar Heels - not nearly good enough to upset a No. 1 seed.

''We got beat by a real good team,'' McDermott said. ''We'll keep our heads held high going into next season.''

Though the Bluejays were among the highest-scoring teams in the nation at 79.2 points a game, they were vulnerable on defense. Creighton was 264th out of 338 teams in 3-point defense, 243rd in scoring defense and 222nd in field-goal defense.

Second-year coach Greg McDermott said his players must work to improve their strength and defensive skills in the offseason.

''We have to make some changes if we want to be able to compete at this level,'' he said, referring to matchups with high-caliber teams like Carolina. ''We have to improve defensively.''

A prolific offense masked the defensive shortcomings most of the season.

Creighton's rise among the mid-majors coincided with the emergence of Doug McDermott, the coach's son, who was a 61 percent shooter and ranks third in the nation in scoring (22.9 ppg). During an 11-game win streak, which included his career-high 44-point outburst against Bradley, he began receiving mention as a national player-of-the-year candidate.

That talk died down during a February funk in which the Bluejays lost three straight, including a 21-point defeat at home to Wichita State. He still became the first sophomore to be named Valley player of the year - a year after being the first freshman named to the All-MVC first team since 1952.

McDermott scored 20 points against Carolina and finished with a school-record 801 points.

His wingman, Gibbs, also will be back. Gibbs averaged a team-leading five assists, with many of them converted by McDermott. Gibbs' statistics line also included 4.5 rebounds, a team-leading 37 steals and seven points game.

The 6-foot-9, 270-pound Gregory Echenique, who has led the Valley in blocked shots two straight seasons, was the first Creighton player named MVC defensive player of the year. Jahenns Manigat, who shot 47 percent on 3s, is the fourth starter who will return.

Sharp-shooting reserves Ethan Wragge and Avery Dingman, along with Josh Jones and Will Artino, also will be back. Austin Chatman, who spelled Young, is first in line to start at point guard next season.

Young, who has led the Valley in assist-turnover ratio for two seasons, leaves as the only player in Creighton history with as many as 1,325 career points and 450 assists.

''Playing Carolina for your last game, how awesome is that? I don't think when I committed to Creighton I could have pictured myself playing my last game against Carolina,'' he said. ''I wish we could have hit some shots, but it's definitely something I'll cherish.''

So will Greg McDermott, whose first Creighton team went 23-16 last season and was runner-up in the College Basketball Invitational. After the loss to Carolina, he said he was clinging to the advice he once was given by an old friend, Iowa State women's basketball coach Bill Fennelly.

''Don't cry because it's over,'' Greg McDermott said. ''Smile because it happened.''

Tagged: Creighton, Antoine Young, Grant Gibbs, Will Artino, Doug McDermott

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..