ST. LOUIS — The Creighton Bluejays came out in the first half and played like a team determined to repeat as Missouri Valley Conference Tournament champions.
Doug McDermott scored 25 points and the Bluejays shot a sizzling 61.5 percent from the field in the first half as they built up a 41-18 lead and cruised past the Indiana State Sycamores 64-43 Saturday in the semifinals.
The Bluejays were even hotter from 3-point range as they shot 72.7 percent (8-for-11) from the arc in the first half.
"We functioned at a very high level offensively, and we took a good offensive team and really shut them down," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "We've had halves where we've played really well. Given the stage we were on today, I would say that was our best half of basketball."
The top-seeded Bluejays (26-7) will be seeking an unprecedented 12th MVC Tourney championship when they play the second-seeded Wichita Shockers (26-7) at 1 p.m. today at Scottrade Center.
No other school has claimed more than five MVC Tourney crowns.
The Sycamores, who exit the tourney with an 18-14 record, ran into the proverbial buzz saw.
They fell behind 14-2 and then saw their deficit grow to 34-9 as they were outscored 18-0 during a 6-minute, 34-second stretch.
"It was a domination by one of the nation's best teams, a team that is determined to win another championship and make another good (NCAA) tournament run," Indiana State coach Greg Lansing said. "They are well coached, and they are the best team that we played all year."
Doug McDermott said the Bluejays' 76-57 loss to Sycamores three weeks ago helped sharpen their focus for the game.
"It played a huge part in it," Doug McDermott said. "We weren't satisfied leaving Terre Haute. We got our tails kicked. We were glad that we got a chance to play them again. We came out and threw the first punch, and it was ours the rest of the game."
Doug McDermott connected on his first five 3-pointers. He contributed 18 points in sending the Bluejays out to a 39-11 advantage.
"We were just sharing the ball, having fun out there," Doug McDermott said. "I thought we did a great job of feeding off our offense. We were clicking on all cylinders, and that carried over to the defensive end of the floor."
Coach McDermott was more pleased with his team's defensive performance than its offensive performance.
The Bluejays forced the Sycamores to shoot a season-low 26.5 percent (13-for-49) from the field.
"Defensively, we put together 40 pretty good minutes of basketball," Greg McDermott said.
As Doug McDermott was doing a television interview on the court after the game, the Creighton fans started chanting, "One more year," referring to McDermott's pending decision on whether to declare himself eligible for the NBA draft or return for his senior season with the Bluejays.
"It's definitely cool to hear that, but I'm not worried about that right now," Doug McDermott said. "I'm worried about Illinois State or Wichita. I'm really excited for tomorrow."
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.