ST. LOUIS (AP) Creighton leaned heavily on its bench, and the usual barrage of 3-pointers, to win its fifth Missouri Valley Conference tournament in seven years.
Reserves Dane Watts and Jimmy Motz combined for half of the school's 12 3-pointers and the Bluejays pulled away late for a 75-57 victory over Southwest Missouri State in the championship game Monday night.
"Motz and Watts really delivered for us," coach Dana Altman said. "It's an incredible feeling."
Motz was 4-for-7 from 3-point range and scored 12 points for Creighton (23-10), which lost twice in the regular season to Southwest Missouri. Watts was 2-for-4 from 3-point range and had 14 points.
"I wasn't scared," Watts said. "I had to step up for my teammates."
Together, they helped Creighton, which averages 8.5 3-pointers, overcome overall 43 percent shooting and an off game from leading scorer Nate Funk to earn a sixth trip in seven seasons to the NCAA tournament. Johnny Mathies also had 14 points for the winners.
"Just providing the spark, I guess, has been kind of my role all year," Motz said. "The main thing is 10 guys found a way to get it done in three days, and we can relax this week and find out where we're going to be playing."
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 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 will get an NIT bid this season.
"I'm actually looking forward to more basketball this season," forward Tamarr Maclin said. "I mean, postseason is postseason."
Conference commissioner Doug Elgin was optimistic the Valley would receive three NCAA bids for the first time since 1999, with regular-season champion Southern Illinois, Wichita State and Northern Iowa also in the running. The Valley is ranked eighth in the RPI.
Southwest Missouri upset Southern Illinois in the semifinals, rallying from a 23-point second-half deficit.
"I feel pretty good about three teams," Elgin said. "This has been a groundbreaking year for us. I even think four teams is possible. The basketball community should respect our league."