Creighton battled with Butler on the court inside CenturyLink Center Omaha, and as time progressed, so did the visible and proverbial gap between these two clubs. The records truly were indicative: one team is amongst the elite in the country, possessing a potent, powerful offense, and the other team is a struggling, inefficient team whose luck just simply cannot be found by falling victim to several close losses. Sometimes even in extra frames.
Creighton earned their 15th victory of the season, besting Butler by the score of 88-60. The win was their fifth of the BIG EAST season and, inversely, Butler's fifth loss of the BIG EAST season.
If there is a better player in America than Doug McDermott, then his attention needs to be brought to the forefront. The superb senior All-American, whose play only seems to be getting better, was dialed in on Tuesday night. Omaha played host to yet another terrific showing from the 6'8" forward, who scored 28 points and grabbed five rebounds. McDermott, a 48.9 percent shooter on the season, maintained that efficiency with a 57.9 percent mark from the field, shot 60 percent from the 3-point arc, and converted 75.0 percent of his four attempts from the free throw stripe.
McDermott's magnificence might make more attention as the days go by, and to say that it's deserved, at this point, may even be an understatement.
Doug's terrific play was not the only story from Omaha, though. Those 88 points came from all different directions, as nine different Bluejays recorded at least two points. Austin Chatman joined McDermott in double figures with 10 points of his own. The Texas-born guard shot 50 percent from the field on his four attempts, and was an impeccable 4-4 from the free throw line. Chatman added three rebounds and an assist, as well.
JUCO transfer Devin Brooks flashed the potential that has Bluejays fans excited for the near future. Brooks scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists. Four of those five rebounds came on the defensive side of the glass, adding to the 34 defensive rebounds that Creighton grabbed as a team on Tuesday evening.
For Butler, it was indeed a struggle for them right out of the gate. The close-loss factor may not have hit them in this game, but in its place was a deep blue tidal wave that they just could not swim away from. Shining the brightest were Butler's two most significant contributors in Kellen Dunham and Khyle Marshall. Dunham and Marshall played the type of games that Bulldogs fans have grown accustomed to, but the 12 and 11 points that each respectively scored were just not enough.
Creighton enters the record books with this fifth consecutive conference victory. Never, in the BIG EAST's long, illustrious history has a team won their first five conference games in a row. But, per the Elias Sports Bureau, that "never" has been erased off of the pages, and in its place stand the 2013-14 Creighton Bluejays.
Now, Creighton turns their attention to the road. They travel to the Dunkin Donuts Center on Saturday, Jan. 18 to take on the Providence Friars (11-5; 1-2) at 8:00 PM ET on FOX Sports 1.
Grading the Bluejays
|Doug McDermott||A||What else is there really to say at this point? McDermott is doing his damndest to separate himself from the pack in the race for the National Player of the Year Award.|
|Jahenns Manigat||B||Two point effort from Manigat, but he shined in other areas, grabbing four rebounds and sending out six assists.|
|Ethan Wragge||B||In 25 minutes he only scored six points and collected five rebounds, but with McDermott setting the pace, Wragge's role as a complimentary player Tuesday evening gives him this grade.|
|Austin Chatman||B+||We would like to see some more from Chatman in the rebounding and assist categories, but a 10-point performance from a player who averages right around seven points per night earns him a more-than-above-average grade.|
|Avery Dingman||B||A +22 on the floor, Dingman played good defense and was not heavily relied on offensively. He still managed to score six points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Gibbs' absence has given way to a role player being able to shine.|
|Will Artino||B+||How about this? Artino scored nine, shot 80.0 percent, and grabbed four rebounds and picked up two blocks along the way. Have yourself a night, Will Artino.|
|Zach Hanson||B||Even the freshman big man got in on the action. And, when he was, he decided to burst onto the scene as well. Hanson scored eight in seven minutes, making his time on the court worthwhile.|
|Devin Brooks||B||You would like to see more efficiency (nine points on eight shots), but Brooks' playmaking abilities more than compensated for those missed opportunities from the field. He has not fully completed his game yet, but make no mistake: the potential is there, and he is getting better.|
|Geoffrey Groselle||A-||Eight points, 80.0 percent from the floor, in eight minutes of action. That warrants high marks for Groselle, who made the most of the opportunity he was given tonight.|
|Isaiah Zierden||B-||Zierden logged just two points, but he was able to play well in other areas on the floor. He went on to dish out three assists and grabbed two rebounds, to boot.|
|Greg McDermott||A||A marvelous night of coaching from Greg McDermott. He made the most of his rotations, never wavered offensively and had a terrific gameplan from start to finish. You get the feeling that the race between he and Jay Wright will be heavily impacted in next week's showdown between the two clubs.|