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Courtesy: Mike Spomer

Back-to-Back! Men's Basketball Will Dance Again as MVC Tourney Champs

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- Creighton had four men score in double-figures in a 68-65 win over Wichita State in the title game of the MVC Tournament on Sunday at Scottrade Center.

Creighton (27-7) won its 12th MVC Tournament title in program history while going back-to-back for the third time. The Jays are now 9-0 all-time in MVC Tournament championship games in St. Louis, while Wichita State fell to 26-8 on the year and 0-3 in St. Louis finals.

Both teams struggled from the field in the opening five minutes, going a combined 0-for-15 by the first media timeout. The Shockers wouldn't make their first bucket until Nick Wiggins breakaway lay-up with 13:14 left in the first half.

With Ethan Wragge leading the way, Creighton used a 13-4 run to open up a 19-7 lead. Wragge hit three three-pointers in the flurry, which also included a putback from Grant Gibbs and a dunk by Gregory Echenique. Just as quickly WSU got back into the game with four baskets from Malcolm Armstead during a 10-2 run.

Armstead's steal and lay-up gave WSU its first lead of the day at 28-27 with 2:12 left in the first half, only to have CU's Wragge respond with his fourth triple of the first half to give Creighton a 30-28 lead at the break.

CU went to the perimeter early in the second half. Back-to-back three-pointers by Jahenns Manigat gave the Jays a 44-35 lead with 15:00 to play, and a Gibbs triple from the corner made is 52-43 with 11:15 remaining. CU's lead reached 54-44 with 8:22 left on a Doug McDermott free throw.

WSU threw a late scare into the Jays, as Armstead and Ron Baker would drain consecutive three-pointers to trim CU's lead to 66-61 with 2:28 to play. A Carl Hall free-throw, followed by three-pointer from Armstead, cut CU's edge to one with 43.4 left. But a Manigat basket with 11 seconds left pushed the lead to three, and Armstead's contested three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.

Manigat had a season-best 16 points to lead Creighton in scoring. Wragge finished with 15 points, McDermott had 14 points and Echenique finished with nine points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots. Gibbs also had a big day, finishing with 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Creighton shot 41.5 percent for the game, including 11-of-24 from three-point range, and had 18 assists on 22 baskets.

WSU was led by a season-best 28 points from Armstead, while Hall had 13 points and four blocks. The Shockers won the rebound battle 42-41 but shot just 34.3 percent from the field on the day.

McDermott was named Most Outstanding Player of the MVC Tournament, joining Kyle Korver as the second player in league history to twice win that honor. Echenique joined him on the all-Tourney team.

The NCAA Tournament selection show will take place next Sunday at 5 pm on CBS. Creighton will be making its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance all-time, and second consecutive.
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