Wizards

McDermott's supporting cast key for 13-1 Creighton

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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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Scott Brooks, Bradley Beal rip officiating after loss to Clippers

Scott Brooks, Bradley Beal rip officiating after loss to Clippers

WASHINGTON -- Wizards head coach Scott Brooks and guard Bradley Beal have a general policy when it comes to answering questions about officiating. Usually, they avoid details because they don't want to be fined by the league. Often, they say plenty with what they leave unsaid.

Sunday night was not one of those times. After the Wizards' 135-119 loss to the Clippers, both the coach and player broke character, rolled their sleeves up and gave the refs a good old fashioned takedown.

Brooks went first and initially said (sarcastically) the officials got all the calls right in the game. After that, he said what he was really thinking.

"When they grab you and hold you and the rules are saying you've got to call a foul, that's a foul. We don't get that. [Bradley Beal] doesn't get that and it's frustrating," Brooks said.

"The rule is you can't grab a guy with two hands. It's not my rule, it's not their rule; it's the NBA rule. If they're not going to call those more, what are we going to do? We're gonna get frustrated, we're gonna get [technicals] and that's not fair. That's not fun for the coaches, that's not fun for the players, that's not fun for everybody."

Beal, who 20 points and five assists but shot 5-for-18 from the field, didn't hold back, either. And he even explained why he felt he had to speak up this time as opposed to other games when he has been more tight-lipped.

"Honestly, [my frustration] is out the roof. It really is. It's really unfair and unacceptable that they allow a lot of stuff to go on with me out there and I do not calls. Period. It's just unacceptable," he said.

"They fine us for saying something. When we do say something on the floor it's 'oh, I didn't see it' or 'it wasn't my call.' I'm just so tired of hearing that. There's three guys out here. I know nobody's perfect, but the blatant ones have to be called and they're not being called. That s--- ain't fair."

Brooks got a technical for arguing a first-half play he thought should have been a charge taken by Moe Wagner. Davis Bertans and Ish Smith, two of the Wizards' more mild-mannered players, also got T'd up.

Brooks thought Smith getting a technical embodied the evening perfectly.

"When Ish [Smith] gets a [technical foul], I know something's going on. That guys is the nicest guy on the planet. He gets a technical by just telling a referee to call it the same on the other end," Brooks said.

Beal was not assessed a technical, though he said he was appreciative of Smith and Bertans sticking up for him. He also said he feels like the lack of respect from referees has been worse this year and suggested the Wizards aren't getting the respect other teams like the Clippers do because of their 7-15 record.

To be fair, the numbers didn't exactly back up those claims on Sunday. The Wizards had 30 free throw attempts, three more than L.A. did. And Beal led all players with nine. He made all nine of them. Beal is also ninth in the NBA in free throw attempts at 7.2 per game, up from his average last season of 5.5.

This was, though, clearly something that had built over a series of games. And the Wizards are averaging the fifth-fewest free throw attempts per game this season at just 20.4 per contest. The Clippers, for comparison, are fourth in the NBA at 26.2.

But when the Wizards are in a close game with a team like the Clippers, who have way more talent than they do, it is hard for them to accept when they feel the referees aren't giving them a fair chance.

And for Brooks, it was particularly bad for Beal, whom he says "gets held all the time." And it's bad for rookie Rui Hachimura, who made all seven of his free throw attempts but should have had more if you ask his head coach.

"He attacks and he gets zero free throws. I understand nobody knows him, but we know him. That doesn't mean anything. You should be able to get to the free throw line with the way he attacks," Brooks said.

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Bowl season: Penn State, UVA get New Year's Six, the Hokies bowl shuffle and Navy's tough draw

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Bowl season: Penn State, UVA get New Year's Six, the Hokies bowl shuffle and Navy's tough draw

The regular season is over, the conference championships decided and the playoff bracket is set. Yes, it's bowl season. Bowl bids were handed out on Sunday and Penn State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Navy all found out their postseason fates.

Here's where each team is headed this bowl season:

Penn State vs. Memphis, Cotton Bowl Classic on Saturday, Dec. 28

Ohio State is headed to the College Football Playoff and the Big Ten's Rose Bowl bid is going to Wisconsin. Penn State, however, managed to squeak into the New Year's Six as the No. 10 team in the nation. They will take on Group of 5 representative Memphis who won the AAC.

Virginia vs. Florida, Orange Bowl on Monday, Dec. 30

The Cavaliers are headed to the Orange Bowl for the first time in school history. More on this game here.

Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky, Belk Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 31

The Belk Bowl always seemed like the likely destination for Virginia Tech, but their opponent was a bit of a mystery. If you were following along on Twitter before things were made official, the Hokies were supposed to play Mississippi State, then it was Tennessee, then Kentucky, then Tennesse again and then back to Kentucky.

Now it's official and we know for sure it will be Virginia Tech vs. Kentucky.

The issue was reportedly Tennessee changing its bowl preference at the last minute.


Navy vs. Kansas State, Liberty Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 31

Kansas State is the only team in the nation with a win over a College Football Playoff team. They defeated Oklahoma 48-41 in October.

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo had the quote of the day about his team's matchup.

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