St. Louis, Mo –It was an overtime thriller that would give goosebumps to the most casual fans. It was one of those instant classic games that keeps you on the edge of your seat and makes you forget to feed the kids. It was one of those games where the only known word in the English language that can describe it is simply, “epic.”
Creighton led by as many as 11 points in the first half with Illinois State not holding a lead since the 17:47 mark in a 6-4 ball game; then something happened. The energy in the arena shifted as the Red Bird faithful rose to their feet in support of their boys from Bloomington-Normal. ISU not only met that 11 point deficit but took a 1 point lead into first half after Anthony Cousin connected with Tyler Brown for a dramatic 3 point shot with 3 seconds left in the half.
The pendulum began to swing in favor of the men in red.
As the second half got underway, fans on both sides stood and cheered as this historical Missouri Valley Tournament Final developed before their eyes.
It is with little speculation that one can say that Creighton’s head coach, Greg McDermott, was smiling ear to ear inside of his intense focus on the game as his son, Doug McDermott, went for an all-time Valley Final high 33 points.
Jackie Carmichael, McDermott’s Illinois State counterpart, kept driving his teammates to defend and answer McDermott’s and his squad in any way possible. Deficits were overcome and an overtime was forced as Carmichael went off for 17 points and grabbed 9 rebounds while Nic Moore threw down a team-high 20 points, Tyler Brown drilled home 16, and Jon Ekey brought 13 points to the table.
With an 83-79 final, the Creighton Blue Jays were crowned king of the MVC Tournament and guaranteed a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Their victory came on the back of McDermott and Grant Gibbs, who had 20 points including the first shot over overtime that sent the tone of the next 5 minutes; Antoine Young also added 14 points to the Blue Jays victory count.
The only thing that the Blue Jays can do now is wait for the NCAA Brackets to come out and try their luck in some March Madness action. With the father and son McDermott combo, fate may sway in their favor.