The No. 24 Creighton Blue Jays punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a 83-79 overtime victory over the Illinois State Redbirds in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title game on Sunday. It was a tight, contested battle from start to finish, with the Bluejays creaking out a victory against the surprisingly challenging Redbirds.
Coming off a stunning upset of No. 14 Wichita State, Illinois State gave Creighton quite the fight before ultimately getting too far behind in overtime. The two teams traded leads numerous times during the game, with Creighton taking a double-digit lead early before Illinois State quickly battled back.
In overtime, Creighton got out to another big lead, and Illinois State's final comeback came a bit too late. Trailing 79-70 with 45 seconds left in overtime, the Redbirds finally found their three-point stroke. Jackie Carmichael knocked down one with 37 seconds left to cut the lead to six, and Nic Moore followed up seven seconds later with another one to cut the lead to five points following a pair of Bluejay free throws.
And after Antoine Young split a pair of shots at the line, Illinois State cut the lead to three points with 12 seconds left. Back at the line again, Young once again split the pair, but at least he gave Creighton a two-score lead. That was enough, as Illinois State would be unable to pull off a minor miracle at the end.
Doug McDermott had a big game for Creighton, scoring 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting, and Grant Gibbs was big as well with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Moore led Illinois State with 20 points and Carmichael added 17 points.