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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Missouri Valley Tournament: Creighton earns auto-bid with win over Wichita State

Just eight days ago, the Creighton Blue Jays and Wichita State Shockers met in Omaha to end the regular season in a lopsided affair that gave Creighton the MVC regular season title.

On Sunday, the two teams met again in the Missouri Valley Tournament championship game in St. Louis and played a much tighter game, with Creighton doing just enough to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with a 68-65 win over Wichita State.

Creighton was able to beat the Shockers despite an unbelievable effort from Wichita State point guard Malcolm Armstead and a sub-par performance from its own superstar Greg McDermott.

Armstead poured in 28 points and knocked down four from behind the arc in an effort to push Wichita State into the NCAA Tournament. Armstead also had nine rebounds, three assists and four steals in an all-around outstanding effort in the loss.

Meanwhile, McDermott struggled for the Bluejays, hitting just five of his 13 shot attempts and scored just 14 points, well below his season average of 23.4 points per game.

With McDermott struggling, Creighton got some big performances from Jahenns Manigat and Ethan Wragge.

Manigat scored a team-high 16 points and grabbed five rebounds. It was Manigat's layup with 11 seconds remaining that helped seal the victory for the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Wragge came off the Creighton bench firing from long range, knocking down five treys in route to scoring 15 very important points.

Creighton will once again be dancing in this year's NCAA Tournament while the Wichita State Shockers will be left waiting to see if they have done enough to earn an at-large bid from the NCAA Tournament selection committee to give the Missouri Valley Conference two participants in the Big Dance.

Wichita State should be safe after posting a 26-8 record on the season and have a RPI of No. 36.