Missouri State 57

(18-12, 10-8 MVC)

Creighton 75

(23-10, 11-7 MVC)

9:05 PM ET, March 7, 2005

Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri

1 2 T
MOSU 32 2557
CREI 38 3775

Top Performers

Missouri St: T. Maclin 8 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 Blk

Creighton: J. Mathies 14 Pts, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Bluejays his 12 3s in rout

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Missouri Valley Conference tournament is Creighton's favorite time of the year.

With reserve Jimmy Motz leading the way, Creighton made 12 3-pointers in 75-57 victory Monday night over Southwest Missouri State, giving the Bluejays their fifth MVC tournament championship in seven years.

Motz sank 4-of-7 shots from beyond the arc and scored 12 points for Creighton (23-10), which lost twice in the regular season to Southwest Missouri. Fellow reserve Dane Watts and Johnny Mathies had 14 points apiece for Creighton, which overcame 43 percent shooting to win its ninth Valley title and a sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament in seven seasons.

"Everybody said we were in but before the game I said, 'Fellas, let's take care of it ourselves,'" coach Dana Altman said. "Because if we lost it's a 50-50 proposition because then you're depending on the other tournaments and hoping there's no upsets."

It was the eighth straight victory for the Bluejays, who pulled away late in the game.

"When we were 15-10, nobody believed it," forward Anthony Tolliver said. "But here we are, going to the Big Dance."

Deke Thompson had 14 points and Anthony Shavies 10 for Southwest Missouri (18-12), which also lost the tournament championship game last year and was shut out of the postseason. Southwest Missouri State has been in the title game five times in the last eight seasons but hasn't won since 1992.

Coach Barry Hinson said his team won't get shut out this season, although he appears to have abandoned hope for an at-large NCAA berth.

"We're going to the NIT," Hinson said. "I know that for a fact."

Creighton averages 8.5 3-pointers with a season total of 285, second most in Valley history, and was 12-for-25 in the title game. Watts, who led the team in scoring for the first time all season, was 2-for-4 from long range.

Creighton ended a four-game losing streak against Southwest Missouri despite an off-game from leading scorer Nate Funk. He was 3-for-12 for eight points -- 10 below his average -- and contributed seven rebounds.

"Who cares, as long as you win?" Funk said.

The game seemed set for a tense finish when Tamarr Maclin made a three-point play with 7:24 to go to cut Southwest Missouri's deficit to 52-50. But consecutive 3-pointers by Tyler McKinney and Motz only 53 seconds apart put Creighton ahead 60-50 with four minutes left.

"You're like 'Wow!'" Hinson said. "We just couldn't stop the bleeding. They got hot and we came up short."

Creighton led 38-32 at halftime, seemingly not much of a cushion against a team that rallied from a 23-point deficit to beat top-seeded Southern Illinois in the semifinals on Sunday. The last time the top seed won the tournament, which is typically wide open, was in 1998.

Mathies was chosen as tournament MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by Motz and Funk, Maclin and Darren Brooks of Southern Illinois.

Creighton was 8-for-14 from 3-point range while building its halftime lead. Mathies, Kellen Miliner and Watts hit two 3-pointers apiece, helping the Bluejays solve a matchup zone that gave Southern Illinois trouble in the semifinals and offset 6-for-17 shooting inside the 3-point arc.

Shavies had 10 points in the half, more than his 8.6-point average. But Southwest Missouri State missed five of its last six shots after tying it at 28 with 4:23 to go in the half.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 57 75
FG Made-Attempted 21-52 (.404) 26-61 (.426)
3P Made-Attempted 3-12 (.250) 12-25 (.480)
FT Made-Attempted 12-19 (.632) 11-13 (.846)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
Largest Lead 2 22

2004-05 Season

Jan 29, 2005 @MOSU 80, CREI 73Recap
Feb 5, 2005 MOSU 79, @CREI 71Recap
» Mar 7, 2005 @CREI 75, MOSU 57Recap