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NCAA Basketball Creighton BluejaysMarch MadnessMissouri Valley Basketball

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament: Doug McDermott, Creighton Advance Past Drake

Dave Weaver-USA Today Sports

The Creighton Bluejays‘ first postseason game of 2013 is in the books.

Doug McDermott scored 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting to lead the way for the Bluejays, as top-seeded Creighton topped Drake in the quarterfinal round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Friday afternoon.

McDermott’s production in their victory over the Bulldogs obviously comes as no surprise. The two-time MVC Player of the Year is the key to the Bluejays’ run at a conference crown and potential NCAA Tournament success. Another bright spot that can be taken away from Creighton’s afternoon win is the production and double-double of senior forward Gregory Echenique. The 6-foot-9 native of Venezuela scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, a key component of the contest considering the Bluejays were able to hold a +14 mark on the boards overall.

Sure, McDermott is the team’s superstar, but if Echenique can produce like he did on Friday, Creighton is a lot more dangerous and a much bigger threat in the coming weeks. On the season, Echenique is averaging approximately nine points and six rebounds per game, so his production in both categories on Friday afternoon was above average.

Teams know what McDermott is going to provide, so any X-factor that can emerge aside from their star forward will be an added bonus.

The pressure on the Bluejays is eased a little bit considering they are virtually a lock to dance. However, that doesn’t mean that Creighton isn’t out and searching for a sweep of the regular season and conference tournament crowns.

The Bluejays will await the winner of the 4/5 match-up in the conference tournament and will play the winner of Evansville and Indiana State.

 

Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS