ST. LOUIS — Gregory Echenique had a season-best 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in just 20 minutes, and No. 25 Creighton also clicked from outside in a 99-71 rout of Evansville in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament semifinal Saturday.
Doug McDermott added 14 points and Antoine Young 13 for the second-seeded Bluejays (27-5), who were 8 for 10 from 3-point range in the first half while building a 19-point cushion and shot 60 percent overall. They entered the day leading the nation with 50.7 field goal percentage and were third in 3-point shooting at 42 percent.
Creighton carries a six-game winning streak into the championship game against No. 4 seed Illinois State, which upset No. 15 and top-seeded Wichita State 65-64 in the other semifinal. Creighton has won the tournament six of the last 13 seasons and is seeking its first trip to the NCAAs since 2007.
Kenny Harris had 17 points and Colt Ryan 13 for Evansville (16-15), which has lost 14 of its last 16 to Creighton. Ryan, who scored 43 points in a 93-92 overtime loss at Creighton Feb. 21, was just 3 for 12 from the field.
Creighton finished 2-1 against Evansville, outrebounding the Aces 43-17 on Saturday. The Bluejays won both regular-season meetings against Illinois State, including a 28-point blowout at home Feb. 1.
Echenique recorded his fourth double-double of the season before sitting down for good with just under nine minutes to go and finished one point shy of his career high set with Rutgers. Creighton easily shrugged off technical fouls to Echinque and Will Artino for hanging on the rim after emphatic dunks.
Creighton dominated in all phases in the first half, shooting 60 percent with a 22-6 rebounding bulge. The points total was the school’s best since the tournament went to a neutral site in 1991.