Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall was still raving over the performance Creighton’s Doug McDermott put on in Saturday’s game against the Shockers.
McDermott scored 41 points in the Bluejays’ 91-79 victory that sewed up Creighton’s first regular-season championship since 2001. The only shots McDermott missed against the Shockers were three second-half 3-point attempts.
He finished 15 of 18 from the field, but one shot in particular caught Marshall’s fancy.
“He made a shot in front of their bench where he jabbed, dribbled, pulled back and fired over a pretty hard contest that was tremendous,” Marshall said on Tuesday’s Valley coaches teleconference. “Other times, he would make a move, pivot, make another move, pivot and eventually find an angle to score.”
Marshall’s team had held McDermott to 43 points in four games as a freshman and sophomore. In two meetings this season, McDermott has scored 66 points against the Shockers.
“He’s improved his ability to score off the bounce and shoot the ball off the bounce,” Marshall said. “He was as good as anyone I’ve ever coached against Saturday.
“He displayed a full array of NBA talent. The only thing he doesn’t do is finish those drives above the rim.”
McDermott was visibly pleased when told of Marshall’s comments.
“That’s cool to hear, especially from a guy that I didn’t think liked Creighton that much,” McDermott said with a chuckle. “But that is cool. I have a lot of respect for Gregg Marshall and what he has done there.
“He’s a great coach that wins year in and year out. It might be a rivalry, but at the end of the day, he’s a great coach and a good person.”
Overall: Creighton forward Doug McDermott. The junior from Ames, Iowa, earned his record eighth player of the week honor after scoring 73 points in the Bluejays’ two wins last week. He made 27 of 35 shots from the field while also grabbing 17 rebounds.
Newcomer: Southern Illinois forward Desmar Jackson. The junior from Warren, Ohio, averaged 16.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in leading the Salukis to a pair of wins.
Quote of the week
Bradley coach Geno Ford, on facing Drake in the opening game of the Valley tournament for the third straight season: “This will be the 11th time our seniors will have played Drake in their careers. Their older guys know our older guys pretty well.”
Bits and pieces
>> In the past decade, McDermott, Nevada’s Nick Fazekas and Boston College’s Jared Dudley are the only players to score 2,000 points, make 100 3-point baskets, grab 800 rebounds and shoot better than 50 percent from the field.
>> This is the first season in Valley history that every league team has won at least six conference games while notching at least 10 overall victories.
>> Illinois State came close to becoming the first team in league history to start conference play 0-6 and then finish .500. The Redbirds went 8-4 in their final 12 league games to finish 8-10.
>> Wichita State’s 12 regular-season nonconference wins are the most by a Valley team since Southern Illinois won 14 in 1990. The Shockers are 48-10 in nonconference play the past four seasons.
>> Indiana State coach Greg Lansing said he will wait until Friday before deciding whether to reinstate suspended forward Manny Arop. The junior is the Sycamores’ second-leading scorer but missed the last two games after being suspended for violating team rules.
>> Bradley’s Dyricus Simms-Edwards and Walt Lemon Jr. have combined for 151 steals this season. The league record for two players is 155 by Tulsa’s Paul Pressey and Mike Anderson during the 1980-81 season.
>> Under coach Ben Jacobson, no team has scored 70 points or more against Northern Iowa in 11 Valley tournament games.
>> Missouri State has two of the four highest-scoring freshmen in the league this season. Marcus Marshall is the only freshman to average more than 10 points a game (10.8), while teammate Gavin Thurman is fourth with a 7.1 average. Marshall needs 22 points to break the school’s freshman scoring record.