SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Creighton Bluejays began scoring in threes just in time to scoot past Louisiana in the NCAA West Regional second round.
Creighton All-American forward Doug McDermott scored 30 points and added 12 rebounds, and forward Ethan Wragge hit the big shots the Bluejays needed in the second half to dismiss the Ragin’ Cajuns, 76-66, on Friday at the AT&T Center.
Wragge hit three 3-pointers in the second half, guard Austin Chatman added another big one and went to the basket for a three-point play, as did guard Jahenns Manigat.
Creighton needed all of those triples to fend off Louisiana and advance to the next round.
Creighton (27-7) will play Baylor on Sunday in San Antonio.
McDermott got into the 3-pointer with 2:06 left that put the Bluejays ahead, 71-64. McDermott went more than 14 minutes of the second half without scoring, but he and Creighton found ways to do the job.
Chatman finished with 16 points and six assists, and Wragge had 12 points, going 4-for-8 from 3-point range.
Guard Elfrid Payton led Louisiana (23-12) with 24 points
The Ragin’ Cajuns surged in the second half with a 9-0 run capped by Payton’s layup to take a 50-46 lead with 12:14 left.
Creighton, which led by as many as nine points in the first half, quickly answered, as guard Grant Gibbs made a layup on an assist from Chatman, before Wragge hit a 3-pointer to put the Bluejays back in front by one.
Wragge hit another 3-pointer that bounced around the rim before falling in to keep Creighton’s 10-0 answering run going. Gibbs finished it with two free throws to give the Bluejays a 56-50 lead with 8:28 left.
Creighton trailed by two midway through the first half before it launched into a 12-1 run driven by McDermott.
After Manigat hit a 3-pointer from the corner, McDermott scored seven straight points, including his first 3-pointer of the game.
Creighton guard Avery Dingman made a layup to cap the Bluejays’ run and gave Creighton a 29-20 lead with 6:31 left in the first half.
McDermott scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
But Payton hit a 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer to cut Creighton’s lead to six at the break.
NOTES: Entering the NCAA Tournament opener, Creighton F Doug McDermott needed six 3-pointers to reach 100 for the season. … Creighton has won a postseason game for the seventh consecutive year and an NCAA Tournament game for the third consecutive season. … Louisiana last made the NCAA Tournament in 2000 and last won an NCAA Tournament game in 1992, when the Ragin’ Cajuns knocked off Oklahoma, 87-83.
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