Scoring 21 points on seven shots without a miss in the first 6:05 of a BIG EAST game would shock most people.
Most people, however, aren't teammates with Ethan Wragge, the Creighton senior who did just that in Monday night's road win at fourth-ranked Villanova. Wragge scored 21 early points as Creighton sprinted out to a 27-8 lead with 13:55 left in the first half. As incredible a start as it was, his peers considered it just another day at work for the "Lumberjack."
"I've seen it so often," said Jahenns Manigat. "I think, you know, people outside of our team who aren't really familiar with what Ethan does, maybe they might get a giggle out of it and think it's unbelievable, unreal, but I've seen him rack up 14, 15, 16, threes in a row at any given point in practice."
The 6-foot-7 forward's makes on Monday were not open looks with his feet toeing the arc as they are in practice. The sharpshooter connected with defenders in his face from a distance that would make members of the Wells Fargo Center's other basketball tenant, the Philadelphia 76ers, drop their jaw. When prodded about his performance, the marksmen admitted it was his best outing he could remember, considering the high stakes. In typical Wragge fashion, once the first shot went down, there was little hesitation getting the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh shots up.
"Like everyone here knows, once I get one, I try to follow it up," said Wragge. "That was an unbelievable feeling, just the way they were coming off."
With 9:37 remaining in the first half, Wragge missed his bid for eight in a row, which drew a sarcastic cheer from the Wildcats' fans, but he added another three before half. At intermission, he had made 8-of-10 from deep. He added one final three in the second half to post a career-high 27 points, which was enough to tie Creighton legend Kyle Korver for most makes from distance in one game. Coach McDermott left Wragge on the court in the second half with the win in hand to give him one more chance to break the record, but Wragge misfired and finished 9-of-14 from deep.
The performance prompted text messages from Korver and Booker Woodfox, another Bluejay great known for his 3-point shot, and spots on Fox Sports Live and Sportscenter, but what the Minnesota native was most proud of was the way the Jays responded after a dismal performance at Providence where CU made just 4-of-19 from deep and lost 81-68.
"We were cold the night before, so it just shows that we didn't really dwell on it, and I was really proud of us for bouncing back and not going 0-2 on that road trip," he said.
Wragge may not have dwelled on Saturday's loss, but he was far from satisfied with his performance against the Friars. The senior is now shooting 50 percent from deep, but made just 2-of-8 in Rhode Island with a good portion of his misses coming up short, which takes away the possibility of the ball bouncing off the rim and in.
Luckily for No. 34, his lifelong shooting coaches -- or mom and dad as he calls them -- were in attendance with advice on hand.
"They were at the Villanova game, so Dad said a couple things before the game that just kind of ease your mind and let you go out there and shoot," Wragge said.
Curious minds asked for what that advice might be on Tuesday afternoon on the court of the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Center.
"Don't think," arguably the nation's best shooter said after his career night.
It didn't appear that Wragge was deeply contemplating whether or not to let it fly on Monday, and it led to a career night, but he wasn't the only Jay to top his previous best.
Manigat, too, had a night to remember, finishing with 19 points on 4-of-5 from distance. The "Canadian Red Bull" lived up to his nickname in Philly, as he scored crucial buckets that helped the Jays weather a Wildcats' surge. Manigat scored the Jays' last bucket of the first half to interrupt a 20-5 ‘Nova run. The senior shooting guard opened the scoring in the second half and scored seven of CU's first 11 points in the final half on layup, 3-pointer and a pair of free throws after he was fouled on a layup following a steal.
Doug McDermott added five threes and finished with 23 points in 28 minutes on the court. The Jays' three senior starters combined for 18 of the team's 21 triples, which marks a new BIG EAST record. While, Austin Chatman chipped in a triple and 10 assists, and redshirt freshman Isaiah Zierden knocked down 2-of-3 long balls to help CU break the record, it was CU's veterans that did most of the heavy lifting.
"I think our seniors did a good job of just leading and relaying the message about how important last night's game was, and we came out wanting to throw the first, second and third punch," said Manigat. "And that's exactly what I think we did."
The Bluejays delivered a couple blows on Monday night in Rocky's hometown, but the Wildcats' never fully recovered from Wragge's early uppercut that caught them off guard.
Wragge's Record Night Leads Jays Over 'Cats
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