McDermott's supporting cast key for 13-1 Creighton


McDermott's supporting cast key for 13-1 Creighton

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) All-American Doug McDermott is the undisputed star for Creighton. He's not a one-man show, though.

The 16th-ranked Bluejays have used consummate team efforts to start 13-1 and win their first two Missouri Valley Conference games.

``Teams are going to take away different stuff,'' senior guard Grant Gibbs said. ``Luckily, we've got a lot of options.''

In Creighton's hard-earned 79-72 victory over Illinois State on Wednesday, the Redbirds did all they could to neutralize McDermott at the expense of leaving Gibbs unguarded. McDermott still scored 15 points, but he had only four at halftime.

Gibbs made the Redbirds pay, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the first half of one of his best games of the season. When Gibbs wasn't roaming free, Ethan Wragge was knocking down one of his six 3-pointers.

Indiana State (9-4), which has won its first two conference games for the first time in five seasons, visits the Bluejays on Saturday. Who knows how they'll defend McDermott?

The junior started the week as the nation's third-leading scorer (23.5 ppg). But if he has difficulty getting going, chances are that Gregory Echenique, Wragge, Gibbs or someone else will pick up any slack.

``You have to give us something,'' coach Greg McDermott said.

More often than not, Doug McDermott is going to get his share of points. The coach's son scored 27 points or more in six games and has seen his reputation grow as one of the nation's most dangerous inside-outside threats, shooting 50 percent from 3-point range and 55 percent overall. He has drawn double- and triple-teams all season, providing his teammates with ample opportunities.

The Bluejays have continued to respond after having their rotation disrupted by the December departure of sixth man Josh Jones because of a heart condition. Echenique, the Bluejays' 6-foot-9, 260-pound enforcer, has elevated his game since a 13-point November loss to Boise State. He's averaging 12.5 points and 8.8 rebounds the past seven games, up from 9.6 and 6.6 the first seven.

Avery Dingman, who has taken most of Jones' minutes, is a combined 9 for 13 from beyond the arc the past three games. And Gibbs, who scored a combined four points and was 2 for 9 from the field in the two games before Illinois State contest, was 6 of 12 against the Redbirds and had seven assists and six rebounds.

``I've kind of got to pick my spots and look for open shots,'' Gibbs said. ``I can make the open ones, no doubt about that. There are a lot of advantages when people are going to play like that.''

Wragge broke out of a 3-for-21 slump on 3s to score all 18 of his points from beyond the arc. The game ended a stretch of seven games in which he hadn't scored in double figures. He's still shooting 44 percent on 3s for the season.

``There are a lot of things that keep me awake at night,'' coach McDermott said. ``His shooting isn't one of them. I think he's one of the best shooters in the country.''

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3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings


3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.


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Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings


Tarik's 3 stars: Grubauer, Caps shut down the Red Wings

It wasn’t pretty but the Caps eventually got what they needed in Detroit: two points.  

After a sleepy first 40 minutes, Brett Connolly scored midway through the third period and then Philipp Grubauer made sure it stood up at Little Caesars Arena, where Washington eked out a 1-0 victory Thursday over the scuffling Red Wings.


Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals

For much of the game, Grubi was left to fend for himself. Good thing for the Caps he was up to the task. The German netminder, who has been one of the NHL’s top goaltenders since Thanksgiving, turned aside 39 shots, including three stops on a pivotal 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period.

2-Brett Connolly, Capitals

The Caps didn’t get many Grade-A opportunities vs. Jimmy Howard. But Connolly buried one of the few they got…on a 2-on-0, set up by Jakub Vrana in the third period. Connolly’s goal was his 15th of the season in his 63rd game, equaling the career-high he set a year ago in 66 contests. Vrana, meantime, has three goals and five assists since getting scratched 12 games ago.

3-Lars Eller, Capitals

Eller didn’t record a point, but he was all over the puck in Motown. The veteran center finished with a game-high six shots on net. He also had a key backcheck against Darren Helm, on a shorthanded breakaway, in the first period. Eller was good in the dot, too, winning eight of 12 faceoffs.

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