College basketball: Creighton edges Wichita State 68-65 to win MVC
St. Louis • Creighton repeated as Missouri Valley Conference tournament champion without much production from its star.
"I didn't have my best game, but my teammates stepped up and it feels great," said Valley player of the year and tournament MVP Doug McDermott, who missed six of his first seven shots in a 68-65 victory over Wichita State on Sunday. "It couldn't get much better than this."
Jahenns Manigat scored a season-best 16 points and hit a layup with 11.5 seconds to go that gave top-seeded Creighton just enough. Reserve Ethan Wragge made five 3-pointers for 15 points while McDermott, who averages 23 points, was held to 14 on 5-for-14 shooting.
"Once I knocked one down, I went for two and then kept on going," Wragge said. "This is what our team has been about all year. If they are going to take away our first or second option, then we've got a third or fourth option and we can all step up."
Malcolm Armstead scored a season-high 28 points with nine rebounds for second-seeded Wichita State (26-8). But he missed a potential tying 3-pointer just before the buzzer while well-guarded by McDermott.
"He was dynamite," coach Gregg Marshall said of Armstead, a transfer from Oregon playing just his senior season at Wichita State. "He carried us in a lot of ways."
While the Bluejays (27-7) locked up an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, Wichita State appears to be in good shape to get an at-large berth. The Shockers entered the day with an RPI of 36, four spots behind Creighton.
"We've just got to stay positive," senior forward Carl Hall said. "It's a new season coming up in like a week and a half."
Liberty 87, Charleston Southern 76 • John Caleb Sanders scored 27 points, Davon Marshall added 20 off six 3-pointers and Liberty won the Big South Conference tournament in Conway, S.C., to reach the NCAA Tournament with a 15-20 record.
NCAA automatic bids
• Belmont, Ohio Valley Conference
• Creighton, Missouri Valley Conference
• Florida Gulf Coast, Atlantic Sun Conference
• Harvard, Ivy League
• Liberty, Big South Conference