WICHITA, Kan. — Creighton coach Greg McDermott cited “intellectual” shortcomings as one of the factors that contributed to Saturday's 67-64 loss to Wichita State.
In other words, the Bluejays' failure to follow the scouting report led to some costly breakdowns against the Shockers.
McDermott ticked off a list of mistakes that included a blown assignment that led to a layup on an out-of-bounds play and not covering a back screen as intended that led to another easy basket.
“And in our zone, we ran at some non-shooters and left some openings inside,” McDermott said. “It was some intellectual things that we've been pretty good at that we didn't execute as well today.
“And there was some late shot-clock stuff that we panicked on at times instead of getting the floor spread and doing what we do. We'll look at the film and try to correct it.”
Since a late November loss to Boise State, McDermott's players had said repeatedly that their attention to the details of the scouting reports prepared by the coaches had contributed heavily to the 11-game winning streak they took into Koch Arena on Saturday.
Creighton guard Grant Gibbs said the Bluejays' scouting-report breakdowns were among topics discussed in the locker room after the game.
“There were a couple of different plays that we wanted to guard differently that guys weren't dialed into what we were doing,” Gibbs said. “We made some uncharacteristic mistakes. Those mistakes on the scouting report probably gave them eight to 10 points.”
Misses stick with Hall
Wichita State's Carl Hall hardly sounded like a guy whose performance had figured heavily into the Shockers' victory.
“I'm just sick about those free throws,” he said.
The 6-foot-8 Hall scored 17 points and matched his career high with 13 rebounds but missed 5 of his 6 free-throw attempts, all in the final two minutes. His final two misses, with six seconds to play, gave Creighton one last shot at forcing overtime but Ethan Wragge missed an open look from about 24 feet.
Hall said he would probably spend some of Saturday night in the practice gym.
“I have to get that fixed,” he said.
Both teams had difficulty from the free-throw line, as Wichita State made 9 of its 19 attempts (47.4 percent). Creighton came into the game 18th nationally in free-throw percentage (.754) but missed 7 of its 17 attempts to finish at 58.8 percent.
“Neither team made free throws, so we can't blame it on that,” McDermott said. “We were equally bad.”
Creighton's subpar showing from the line made Hall breathe a little easier after the game.
“The basketball gods smiled on us today,” he said. “It helped that Creighton missed some free throws. They usually don't miss like that.”
Bluejays struggle late
Creighton got only three points out of its final seven possessions of the game. Doug McDermott made the final one of his 10 baskets to get the Bluejays within 64-63 with 2:23 to play and Gibbs made one of two free throws to cut Wichita State's lead to 65-64 with 25 seconds to play.
Greg McDermott said the Bluejays got some shots that they wanted down the stretch.
“I think we got what we wanted offensively,” McDermott said. “That part, we were fine. The difficult of playing in this environment is to execute and get the shot. You'd like to start making the shots a little easier, but we were getting what we wanted.”
Creighton got three wide-open 3-point attempts in the final 3½ minutes. The Bluejays also got the ball into Doug McDermott but Wichita State's Malcolm Armstread came up with a big defensive play, stealing the ball on a double team with 1:14 to play.
“In a one-point game, we got the ball exactly where we wanted it,” Greg McDermott said. “Doug was going to something that he wanted but Armstead made a great play.”
Echenique hurts wrist
Gregory Echenique spent most of the postgame press conference holding his right wrist. He took a hard fall after grabbing one of his six offensive rebounds with 5:49 to play.
Dr. Douglas Ramos, Creighton's team physician, said it appeared Echenique might have suffered a sprain. He said the 6-foot-9 center would probably have the wrist X-rayed when the team returned home.
“It doesn't look that serious,” Ramos said.
Echenique finished the game with nine points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots. In his previous three games, Echenique had scored a total of 11 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked two shots.
Crowd gets high marks
Koch Arena lived up to its reputation of being the toughest place to play in the Missouri Valley. Hall paid tribute to the raucous sellout crowd of 10,506, calling it the difference-maker.
“If not for the crowd,” he said, “we lose that game.”
Doug McDermott, who led the Bluejays with 25 points, called Saturday's atmosphere “as good as it gets for college basketball.”
“Their students were out early and there was a lot of energy,” Echenique said. “It was a lot of fun. A crowd like that gives you a lot of extra energy, and there are not a lot of places in this league that can compare to this.”
Bits and pieces
>> Creighton's Josh Jones made the trip to Wichita after undergoing a surgical procedure Wednesday to treat the heart issue that forced him to give up basketball. The procedure was successful in slowing Jones' accelerated heart rhythm, and he said he was feeling “back to normal.” He said he will have to meet with doctors in about six months to determine what, if any, additional treatment is needed.
>> Wichita State took 15 of its 40 first-half shots from 3-point range, making three. The Shockers only fired up eight shots from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes, making one. “We talked at halftime about how we could get by our man,” Wichita State guard Demetric Williams said. “We started attacking the rim.”
>> The Shockers stretched their winning streak at home to 18. Creighton is the last team to leave Wichita with a win, having done that Dec. 31, 2011.
>> The loss was Creighton's first in seven games away from home this season. The Bluejays also had a six-game winning streak in conference road games snapped.
>> Creighton led just 12 seconds of Saturday's game. Austin Chatman gave the Bluejays their only lead when he made a jumper with 11:31 to play. The Shockers tied the game 12 seconds later on a free throw by Cleanthony Early. Creighton would tie the game at 54-54 and 58-58 before Williams' driving basket with 6:09 to play would give Wichita State the lead for good.
>> Creighton has not had a lead change in the final five minutes of any of its 19 games this season.
>> McDermott's 25 points moved him into a tie for 23rd on the Missouri Valley's career scoring chart. He made 4 of 5 3-point shots, extending his string of making at least one 3-point basket to a Valley-best 17 games.