Ragland, Wichita State coast past No. 17 Creighton
Omaha, NE – Joe Ragland had 24 points and six assists, as 68, on Saturday.
Ben Smith added 22 points while Toure' Murry and Demetric Williams had 11 apiece for the Shockers (22-4, 13-2 MVC), who have won four straight and 12 of their last 13.
The Bluejays (21-5, 11-4) could have tied Wichita State atop the MVC standings with a win, but instead lost their third straight game. They were paced by Gregory Echenique's 16 points. Leading scorer Doug McDermott had 13 on 5-of-14 shooting while Antoine Young and Ethan Wragge scored 11 apiece.
The Shockers took control of the game late in the first half, using an 8-0 run to grab a 33-23 advantage. Murry had four points during the surge before Creighton responded with five straight to make it 33-28. But Wichita State continued to pull away.
A Smith three-point play stretched the lead back to 10, 42-32, with two minutes left in the half and it was 49-36 at the break courtesy of Smith's trey seconds before the buzzer.
Despite the sizeable margin, recent history cautioned that the Bluejays were capable of making it a game.
Since 2003, Creighton has overcome a double-digit deficit to down Wichita State six times, including an 11-point comeback win on New Year's Eve of this season.
But the Shockers didn't falter. They dominated the second half, stretching the lead to 19, 70-51, on another bucket from Smith. The Bluejays answered with a McDermott layup and two free throws from Echenique but Wichita State had it back to 19 minutes later and the margin reached 20 on a pair of Williams' foul shots with 4:10 to play.
The Shockers shot 58.2 percent from the field and hit 8-of-16 three- pointers...Wichita State improved to 8-1 on the road this season...Creighton leads the all-time series, 53-44...McDermott entered Saturday ranked first in the MVC and third in the nation in scoring at 23.3 points per game.