WICHITA, Kan. -- Coming off a disappointing loss at home, Creighton coach Greg McDermott focused more on his own team than the next opponent.
"I've probably never spent less time on Wichita State the past two days," McDermott said. "If we didn't fix the defensive things that were going south for us, it wasn't going to matter."The Bluejays (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) limited Wichita State to 22 points in the second half Saturday and rallied for a 68-61 win."I was really proud of our team and our defense," McDermott said. "Tonight, we did a much better job when we were beat off the dribble."Creighton gave up 77 points Wednesday to Missouri State, but did a better job against the Shockers.Antoine Young scored 19 points for Creighton (11-2, 1-1 Missouri Valley). The Bluejays trailed by 11 points late in the first half and were still down by eight at the break before coming back against Wichita State (10-3, 1-1)."Holding them to 68 should have been good enough to win," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. "I'm really disappointed in our execution in the second half."Doug McDermott, the nation's second-leading scorer, finished with just 12 points, less than half his average. He had a 3-pointer during a 14-3 run that put Creighton ahead 49-47 with 11:02 left. Grant Gibbs and Josh Jones added 3s during an 11-2 burst that made it 60-51 with 5:42 to play.Gibbs had 11 points, all in the second half, and six assists. Gregory Echenique added 12 for the Bluejays.Carl Hall led the Shockers with 17 points and 13 rebounds. He also physically hounded McDermott in holding him to 4 of 9 shooting.Down by nine in the closing minutes, Hall tried to rally the Shockers. He scored four straight points, and a foul shot by Toure' Murry pulled Wichita State within 62-59 with 1:31 remaining.Young sealed the victory for Creighton. He finished 8 of 10 from the foul line."It was great to see those guys step up," Doug McDermott said. "I knew they were going to focus on me. I knew I had to impact winning a different way."Said Greg McDermott: "Once we figured out what they were doing with Doug, we were able to spread things out."After going 13 of 17 on free throws in the first half, Wichita State was just 5 of 8 in the second half. The Shockers were 1 of 14 from the 3-point line after halftime."Creighton deserves some credit for that shooting," Marshall said. "Shots that have been going down, shots we need to go down to be successful, just weren't there."The Bluejays enjoyed a fast start, taking a 14-5 lead on Ethan Wragge's 3-point shot. Creighton's defense had the Shockers befuddled, and Wichita State made just two of its first 13 shots.Eight points from Echenique helped Creighton lead 19-12 with 9:17 remaining in the half. That's when Wichita State made a move. The Shockers went on a 9-1 run that included only one field goal and a technical foul on Creighton's bench.Wichita State took control with 12 straight points late in the half. Murry's driving bank shot gave the Shockers a 39-28 lead with 1:42 left in the half."It was like there was three components to the game," Marshall said. "And their two, at the beginning and the end, overshadowed our one. They deserved to win the game, win on our floor."