After scoring just ten points as a freshman in Creighton’s loss to Nebraska, senior forward Doug McDermott’s had his way with the Huskers. In each of the ensuing three meetings McDermott’s shot better than 50% from the floor, including a 33-point, eight-rebound performance in the Bluejays’ 82-67 win on Sunday night. Not to take another outstanding performance from the national Player of the Year candidate for granted, but we’ve come to expect such nights from McDermott.
But in a game that included an 22-3 Creighton run to begin (and effectively finish) the game and the ejections of Creighton’s Grant Gibbs and Nebraska’s Terran Petteway, the play of senior forward Ethan Wragge should also be noted. He’s been an important figure through the Bluejays’ first nine games of the season, and that will continue to be the case once they begin Big East play at the end of the month.
Wragge’s always been known for his ability to step out on the perimeter and knock down shots, and he did that against Nebraska to the tune of 4-for-7 from beyond the arc and 16 points. Wragge’s now reached double figures in four consecutive games, and after averaging 7.7 points per game as a redshirt junior he’s up to 12.6 points per game in 2013-14. But he also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds against Nebraska, marking the second time in the last three games that he’s done so.
Formerly a reserve, the senior has performed well as a starter in each of the last two games.
“He’s done a great job. He can spread the floor for us, and it gives me a lot of freedom down there in the post,” Doug McDermott said of Wragge after Sunday’s win. “I think we really work well together. We know when someone’s hot, who’s going to be on the perimeter. We do a good job of rolling and replacing and interchanging for each other, and he’s a good weapon to have out there because he’ll shoot it from just about anywhere.”
Through nine games Wragge’s shown himself to be a much-improved player for Creighton, and that’s important going forward when considering the amount of attention that McDermott receives from opposing defenses. The Bluejays have plenty of experience, including guards Gibbs, Austin Chatman and Jahenns Manigat and Wragge to go along with McDermott, which will make them a team to be dealt with in the Big East.
But if the Bluejays are to make a run at winning their new conference, players other than McDermott will need to make good use of the opportunities they receive as a result of teams devoting so much attention to Creighton’s best scorer. Through nine games Ethan Wragge’s increased his production, and if he can remain consistent Creighton becomes an even tougher team to slow down.