(AP) — On the verge of opening 7-0 for the second straight season, Creighton has been rolling behind Doug McDermott’s outstanding play.
The 11th-ranked Bluejays, though, have also continued to prove that they’re anything but a one-man show.
Creighton hosts Boise State in the Mountain West-Missouri Valley challenge Wednesday night.
One night after scoring a season-high 30 points in an 84-74 win over Wisconsin, McDermott had 29 along with nine rebounds as the Bluejays (6-0) beat Arizona State 87-73 to win the Las Vegas Invitational on Saturday.
The reigning MVC player of the year was 10 of 19 from the field and made eight of 11 free throws, helping to hold off the Sun Devils’ second-half rally.
“We gotta learn when we’re up 27-9 we gotta throw that punch and not even make it a game. We got a lot to improve on, we didn’t play our best basketball but we still found a way to win,” McDermott said. “It’s huge, huge for our confidence. Winning a tournament like this, it’s big, beating two big-time teams.”
While the Bluejays depend heavily on McDermott’s spectacular production, the team also possesses plenty of depth, led by Ethan Wragge. The reserve forward scored 13 points and went 3 of 7 from 3-point range against Arizona State.
Wragge, who entered the season with a career average of 6.6 points, has scored 14.6 in the last five games while going 20 for 33 (60.6 percent) from beyond the arc.
“I think he’s taken a lot of pride in his role, he sure can shoot that thing,” McDermott said. “It’s something that’s gonna continue cause he’s the best shooter in the country in my opinion – he doesn’t miss. We’re really happy to have him out there on the floor, it just makes it so difficult for the other teams to guard.”
Wragge’s season average of 12.8 points is second on Creighton, which has four other players averaging at least 6.2.
The Bluejays now returns home, where they’ve outscored unranked non-conference opponents by an average of 17.0 points during a 31-game winning streak.
“We got a big week ahead,” McDermott said. “We got Boise State, whose only loss is to Michigan State, and Saint Joseph’s – a team that beat us last year … so we gotta stay focused.”
After falling 74-70 to the then-No. 15 Spartans last Tuesday, the Broncos (4-1) bounced back with a 72-56 win over UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. Anthony Drmic scored 16 points to lead four players in double figures for Boise State, which took a 37-20 lead into halftime.
The Broncos have dropped nine straight to Top 25 opponents, though five of those defeats came by five or fewer points. Boise State has never faced Creighton.
The Bluejays have won each of their games by at least 10 points for the first time since the 1928-29 team opened with eight straight double-digit victories.