NCAA BK

Ethan Wragge mantra on 3s: Don't think, just shoot

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP)

(Eds: With AP Photos.)By ERIC OLSONAP Sports Writer

Creighton's Ethan Wragge got some words of wisdom from his dad before he put on one of the great shooting exhibitions of the college basketball season.

Two nights after he went 2 for 8 on 3-pointers in a loss at Providence, Wragge made seven straight in the first seven minutes of Monday's game against fourth-ranked Villanova in Philadelphia. He finished with a school record-tying nine 3s and a career-high 27 points in the Bluejays' 28-point victory.

So, just what pregame advice did Brad Wragge impart to his son?

''Don't think,'' Ethan said, quoting his father on Tuesday.

Wragge, who always wears the same stoic expression on his bearded face, wasn't joking. He became the best 3-point shooter in the nation by keeping things simple. He said he told himself Monday to not leave his shots short, like he did in the loss at Providence. Otherwise, he launched shots with his quick release and watched them drop though. No worries.

''That's when I'm at my best - right when I catch and shoot,'' he said. ''If I delay or think about it, that's when the stuff you don't want happens. When you get that rhythm, you get that feel, you've got to let it go.''

Wragge's 9-for-14 performance moved him to the top of the national 3-point accuracy chart. He's making 50 percent (74-148), tied with Oklahoma State's Phil Forte (53-106).

Doug McDermott made five 3s and finished with 23 points against Villanova, which is a normal night at the arena for the two-time All-American. Jahenns Manigat added four 3s and a career-high 19 points.

But Wragge was the star attraction as the Bluejays amassed a Big East-record 21 3-pointers. That was one more than the Creighton record, the most by a Division I team this season and the most against a Top 25 opponent since at least 1996-97, according to STATS.

''I think people outside of our team who aren't really familiar with what Ethan does, maybe they might get a giggle out of it and think it's unbelievable, unreal,'' Manigat said. ''Whenever he gets on a hot streak like that, my goal is to set screens for him or pass him the ball and get out of his way and let him do what he does.''

The Bluejays rode Monday's game to the top of the national charts in 3-pointers per game (11.37) and 3-point accuracy (43.6 percent). Almost half their season field-goal production - 648 of 1,304 points - is the result of 3s.

It's no surprise the Bluejays' 1.23 points per possession are the most for any team in at least two decades, according to STATS.

Wragge's barrage tied the school record set in 2003 by Kyle Korver - yes, the Atlanta Hawks player who has made at least one 3-pointer in an NBA-record 109 games in a row.

Korver sent a text to Wragge on Tuesday that read, ''If you and Doug keep it up, there might not be many records left.''

It was apparent Wragge sensed a big night brewing after his first 3-pointer. Next possession, as the ball swung around the perimeter, Wragge waved his right hand to let Manigat know he wanted the ball. Request granted. Swish.

''The first one felt good,'' Wragge said. ''I like to get them in bunches and keep it going.''

Wragge let Manigat and McDermott have turns to make 3s on the Bluejays' third and fourth possessions, and then he let fly another after he made an off-balance grab of a rebound along the baseline on the other end. Wragge gathered himself and trailed as his teammates ran down the floor. Manigat found him for a 25-footer.

Later, Wragge schooled Villanova on what happens when a defender leaves him to double-team McDermott. Wragge sent an entry pass to McDermott, causing Josh Hart to step toward the lane to help James Bell. As Hart arrived, McDermott threw the ball back out to Wragge. You know what happened next.

The sequence left Fox Sports 1 commentator Bill Raftery wanting for more words to describe Wragge's early barrage. Incredulous, the normally loquacious Raftery could think of only two.

''Absolutely comical,'' he said.

Tagged: Creighton, Villanova, Ethan Wragge, Jahenns Manigat, Doug McDermott

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