This game looked like a blowout a couple of times, initially for No. 20 Creighton and later for San Diego State. In the end, it was a tightly contested 86-80 victory for the Aztecs. This was a marquee win for San Diego State and the Mountain West against one of the best teams in the Big East.
All-American Doug McDermott led the Bluejays to an early 14-2 lead and scored 16 of his team's first 19 points. It looked like they would put away the Aztecs the way they manhandled Arizona State the night before. But not so fast.
With 9:03 still remaining in the first half, the Aztecs drew to a 22-22 tie on Matt Shrigley's second three-pointer. The Aztecs held McDermott scoreless for the remainder of the first half and claimed a 40-30 halftime lead.
McDermott made the first two points of the second half and then the Aztecs went on a 19-0 run. Game over, right? Not so fast.
For those who remember the 2011 game, a big Aztecs lead is never safe against the Bluejays. The Aztecs led 31-14 early in that contest, only to lose 85-83. But Xavier Thames is the only remaining Aztec who played in the 2011 home loss to Creighton. Conversely, eight of the 2011 Bluejays played in tonight's game. Three of them started in both games. Ethan Wragge was a major contributor off the bench in both games, scoring 19 points in the 2011 contest and 15 points in the 2013 game.
Thames had a personal high 26 points to lead the Aztecs tonight. His clutch three-point shooting (4-of-5) and free-throw shooting (8-of-10) helped the Aztecs ward of the Bluejays down the stretch. Dwayne Polee II played 17 minutes off the bench and scored 11 points, often at pivotal moments in the game. And the Aztecs were perfect from the free-throw line in the first half and made 80% of their free throws in the second half. When they had to make them, they did.
McDermott scored 30 points to lead all players, but this time it wasn't enough.
The Aztecs will take on No. 25 Marquette in the championship game of the Wooden Legacy on Sunday, December 1 at 9:30 pm EST on ESPN2.