OMAHA, Neb. -- A few quick thoughts from Creighton's 91-79 victory over Wichita State on Saturday.
Overview: Creighton clinched its first outright Missouri Valley Conference title since 2000-01 at the CenturyLink Center, and for that, Bluejays fans can thank Doug McDermott.
Just make sure you don't forget about his teammates.
McDermott scored 41 points on 15-of-18 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. But it was performances by less-heralded Bluejays such as Austin Chatman, Ethan Wragge and Grant Gibbs that sparked Creighton in the game's key stretch. The trio combined for all of their team's points during a 14-2 march in which the Bluejays extended a 55-52 lead to 69-54. Wragge opened the stretch with back-to-back 3s before Chatman buried a trey and scored on a layup. Gibbs rounded out the scoring with a 3 of his own.
Wichita State fought back and pulled within six points, 71-65, on Carl Hall's pull-up jumper. But McDermott buried a 3-pointer on each of Creighton's next two possessions to put the game out of reach.
Creighton shot an almost unfathomable 70.2 percent from the field. The Bluejays hit 11 3-pointers. McDermott was 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Wichita State shot 52.7 percent, including 64 percent in the second half.
The victory gives Creighton a 24-7 overall mark to end the regular season. The Bluejays finished 13-5 in the MVC. Wichita State (12-6) placed second. The Shockers could have clinched a share of the title four days earlier, but they lost at home to Evansville on senior night. That meant Saturday's game in Omaha was a winner-take-all tilt for the outright crown. That's the first time in the past 30 years that two teams tied for first place faced each other to end the regular season.
Turning point: Creighton's 14-2 run midway through the second half seems like the easy answer, but McDermott's back-to-back 3-pointers after Wichita State had made it a six-point game had to have been deflating to the Shockers.
Star of the game: How do you not go with McDermott, who proved more than worthy of first-team All-America consideration for the second straight year? The question now is whether Saturday's game marked McDermott's final appearance at CenturyLink Center. The junior is considered a borderline first-round pick in this summer's NBA draft should he elect to leave school a year early. McDermott has indicated he will wait until after the season to make a decision. As the final minutes ticked away Saturday, Creighton fans began directing "one more year!" chants toward McDermott.
Up next: The Missouri Valley tournament begins Friday in St. Louis. The semifinals are Saturday, and the title game is Sunday at 2:05 p.m. ET.