The Creighton Bluejays found themselves in a dog fight with Cincinnati in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament,but held on for a 67-63 win.
Creighton and Cincinnati traded blows in the first half. There were seven lead changes, and big shots made by both teams. Wooden Award Finalist Doug McDermott scored 14 first half points for the Bluejays, and F Ethan Wragge went 3-3 from beyond the arc, giving him 9 points at the midway point. The Jays shot a stunning 63% going 12-19 and 55% from three point land. Cashmere Wright led the Bearcats in the first half with 8 points, going 3-7 from the floor. Poor shooting hampered Cincinnati in the first half. The Bearcats shot a horrid 35% from the floor heading into the locker room trailing 32-27.
Creighton were held in check in the second half by a strong Bearcat defense. Cincinnati pulled within a point with 16:47, and stayed within 5 points of the Jays until Wragge hit his fourth three pointer and center Gregory Echenique capitalized on a three point play. McDermott added a bucket, and Creighton took a 52-44 lead with 8:43 remaining.With 5:33 left, Cincinnati pulled back within three points, trailing 52-49. They tied the game at 54 with three and a half minutes left in the second half. Echenique gave the Jays a 2 point edge with less than three minutes to play. McDermott followed with two free throws giving Creighton a 58-54 lead.
After another Bluejay bucket, McDermott was then called for a Flagrant 1 foul, giving Cincinnati two free throws and possession. Shaquille Thomas went 0-2 on the free throws. Guard Sean Kilpatrick then hit a three pointer, pulling Cincinnati within three points. Two free throws from Bluejay guard Grant Gibbs gave Creighton a 62-57 lead with 46.1 seconds left. The teams traded baskets and free throws until the final buzzer.
McDermott dominated the stat line with 27 points and 11 rebounds.
Creighton moves on to face Duke this Sunday in the Round of 32. The game creates a few interesting individual matchups highlighted by Greg McDermott and Dukes Ryan Kelly, who should give McDermott problems defensively. Creighton looks to advance to their first Sweet 16 in school history.