College Basketball Invitational Quarterfinal Recap - Creighton 102, Davidson 92

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In the final week and a half of March, college basketball teams are anything but fresh. Young bodies hit a wall, and the young minds that carry those bodies find it hard to keep pushing the full extent of not-fully-discovered human limits. The true test of a long season is not so much the physical aspect of competition, but the mental grind that undergirds it.

Quite clearly, then, the Creighton Bluejays showed a considerable measure of mental toughness as they moved one step closer to a postseason tournament title.

Creighton trailed 83-82 with five minutes left in the game after allowing a Davidson comeback from an eight-point deficit, but the homestanding Jays were able to uncork a 14-3 run to spark to snag a season-sustaining victory in the CIT quarterfinals. Both teams needed enough fuel to go the distance, and while Davidson ran an impressive 35-minute race, it was Creighton which was able to travel the full 40 minutes without running out of gas.

Creighton scored a season-high 102 points in this offensive showcase on Monday night at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The Bluejays hit 51.7 percent of their shots, nailing 30 of 58 attempts. Yes, they allowed the visiting Wildcats from the small-town precincts of North Carolina to make 53.1 percent of their tries; coach Bob McKillop’s Davidson roster went 34-of-64 from the field. However, the Jays were able to overcome their shoddy defense with even more playmaking of their own. The difference in this game emerged at the foul line, as Creighton – tougher near the rim and superior in the art of dribble penetration – hit 36 free throws, 12 more than Davidson even managed to attempt. The Wildcats were plagued by fouls down the stretch, with two players being disqualified and two more finishing with four personals.

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Davidson finished its season with an 18-15 mark. Forward De'Mon Brooks led the team with 21 points and nine rebounds, he finished with four fouls. Guard JP Kuhlman had 19 points. Forward Jake Cohen disqualified with 16 points, forward Clint Mann was also disqualified with nine points.

The Bluejays were led by forward Doug McDermott with 31 points and 10 rebounds, Antoine Young with 22 points and nine assists, Josh Jones with 21 points (including 4-for-4 shooting beyond the arc), and Gregory Echenique with 10 points. Creighton, which carried the banner for the Missouri Valley Conference on a night when Northern Iowa lost to SMU in postseason play, will face Central Florida in the CBI semifinals on Wednesday.

By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer




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