Creighton Coach Greg McDermott went with Ethan Wragge instead of Will Artino for Tuesday night's game at Long Beach State (1-8), and the emphasis on the 3-pointer paid off for the Jays with a 78-61 victory.
The win brought CU back to .500 on their California vacation, following their 1-2 showing in the Wooden Legacy. Doug McDermott led all scorers with 21 points, but the true spectacle was the Jays' balanced scoring effort. Wragge added 15 points in his first start of the year, while Artino contributed a season-high 13 in his first appearance off the bench. Redshirt freshman Isaiah Zierden also did well from behind the arc, making four three for a career-best 12 points.
With the switch, the 49ers now had to worry about each member of the Bluejays' starting five torching them from behind the arc. In the game, the Bluejays made 14 3-point attempts compared to just eight 2-point baskets. The Niners opened up a 9-3 lead early after a three from Mike Caffey, but CU responded with a consistent attack from long distance. A triple from Avery Dingman gave Creighton a 14-12 lead, and the Jays never looked back. The Jays made 10-17 from deep in the first half and made all 10 of their free throws, owning a 48-28 lead at half.
The pace of the second half was slowed by 28 fouls called between the two teams. The Jays prevented the 49ers from hitting it rich in the second half by making 10-15 from the free throw line and 4-10 from behind the arc. Long Beach trailed by as much as 31 in the second half but cut the final margin to 17 by outscoring CU 33-30 in the final period.
Grant Gibbs struggled through his 13 minutes on the court, apparently hobbled with shoulder and ankle injuries. The veteran produced just two rebounds and one assist against two turnovers in his time on the floor. Devin Brooks led the bench players with 24 minutes played, scoring six points. The junior-college transfer also tallied a team-leading seven rebounds.
A.J. Spencer connected on all seven free throws he attempted and led the 49ers with 13 points, while Caffey and Dan Jennings added 11 and 10, respectively.
The Bluejays will take Wednesday off, as they return to Omaha. Preparation for Sunday's in-state rivalry game with the Huskers will take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Jays Strike Gold From Deep, Defeat 49ers
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