Wisconsin felt it matched up well against No. 14 Creighton. Well, against everyone but Doug McDermott
McDermott had 30 points and eight rebounds to lead Creighton past Wisconsin 84-74 Friday night for a spot in the Las Vegas Invitational final.
"I thought we competed pretty well, but McDermott was too tough for us," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said. "He has a feel for the game. He makes other guys look like they haven't played before. He's a coach's delight and his coach happens to be his dad. McDermott was the difference."
Jared Berggren scored a career-high 27 points and Ryan Evans had 15 for Wisconsin.
"We didn't do a good job on McDermott in the paint," Berggren said. "We weren't getting enough stops. We gave up too many points. We didn't do a good job of taking away from them what they do well. We definitely would have liked to contain them better defensively."
Berggren said the Badgers (3-2) also failed to defend well against some Bluejays reserves, such as Ethan Wragge, who had 17 points.
"We knew he was a good shooter and he made us pay," Berggren said.
George Marshall had 13 points for the Badgers and Sam Dekker had eight points. Marshall also had eight rebounds and Berggren and Ben Brust had seven each. George Marshall went 3 for 7 on 3-pointers and Berggren and Dekker each were 2 for 5.
Wisconsin led 39-38 in a closely-contested first half that featured 13 lead changes and seven ties. The Badgers' biggest advantage was 12-6 with 15:32 until halftime.
Creighton (5-0) will play Arizona State in the championship game Saturday. The Sun Devils beat Arkansas 83-68.
Wragge had a 3-pointer that put Creighton up for good, 61-60, with 7:40 left at the Orleans Arena.
Austin Chatman added a career high 14 points for Creighton, which shot 62 percent from the field in the second half and 88 percent from the free throw line for the game.
Ryan Evans had 15 points and eight rebounds, while George Marshall added 13 points.
The Bluejays were 22 of 25 from the free throw line and outrebounded Wisconsin 40-34.
This is the first time the teams have met since 1949, when the Badgers won 75-39. Both coaches faced off in the 2005 NCAA tournament in Oklahoma City. Bo Ryan's Wisconsin team defeated Greg McDermott's Northern Iowa squad 57-52.
This is Creighton's first trip to Las Vegas since Dec. 2008, when they won the Las Vegas Classic with wins over Fresno State and DePaul in the final two rounds. Wisconsin has made two trips recently to Las Vegas, losing both to UNLV, the last in Nov. 2010.