Doug McDermott collected a hard fought 19 points, battling off injury to lead Creighton to an 81-62 win over DePaul on Tuesday.
Creighton (13-2) did not lead until past the midway point of the first half, with DePaul shutting down McDermott to 2-of-8 shooting in the first half. It didn't help the Bluejays when guard Grant Gibbs went down with an injury to his right knee before halftime. Gibbs was not able to put weight onto his right leg and did not return after going to the locker room. Gibbs is scheduled to have an MRI on that knee today.
Not long after, McDermott came off a screen grabbing his left shoulder, wincing in pain. McDermott would push through the injury, patiently taking his chances as they came. It was the perfect time for the Blue Demons to capitalize.
But as expected, their woes continued.
DePaul (8-8) underwent another shooting slump late, going 40 percent from the field. Freshman Billy Garrett Jr. had the worst game of his young collegiate career, going scoreless on 0-for-10 shooting. The Blue Demons tried to come back as they cut the deficit to six points in the second half. Senior Brandon Young led the game with 24 points (9-of-16 shooting) while Cleveland Melvin 16 points and six boards. Center Tommy Hamilton, playing less after some pretty bad performances, showed his range by dropping two three-pointers en route to nine points in the ballgame.
However, Creighton's core role players were able to make up for McDermott's struggles on the offensive end. Avery Dingman, averaging two points a game on the year, was second on the Bluejays roster with 16 points, connecting on six of his eight shots and going 2-for-3 from downtown. Most of McDermott's missed shots were cleaned up by center Will Artino, who gave the Bluejays a spark with 10 points and seven rebounds. Sharpshooter Ethan Wragge was 50% from downtown, scoring 12 and grabbing seven boards. Wragge knocked down the third of his four three's on the day to give Creighton a 74-60 lead with less than four to go, putting the game away for the Jays.
|Field Goal Pct.||40.4%||48.2%|
|Second Chance Points||10||26|
Stopping Doug McDermott was key to keeping DePaul into this game, but Creighton isn't a team that relies on one weapon. Even with the loss of Gibbs, the Bluejays had enough firepower on offense, with five players scoring in double figures. Creighton did most of their damage from beyond the arc, going 11-for-21 from 3-point range. To make matters worse, the Blue Demons gave Creighton a number of second chances, and the Bluejays were able to take advantage for 26 for their 81 points.
The DePaul seniors, Melvin and Young, did all they could to give DePaul their first Big East win of the season, but they were unable to atone for the struggles of Billy Garrett Jr. and their front court of Hamilton and Sandi Marcius. Hamilton was 3-for-6 from the field, but two of those FG's were three's. Marcius saw his numbers diminished again, failing to register a single shot attempt in 15 minutes of play. But it's the bad game from Garrett that will be taken away from this contest. The freshman missed seven three-point shots and played his sloppiest game on offense all year.
Creighton will return to Omaha with a 3-0 conference record as they'll take on fellow Big East newcomer Xavier on Sunday at 2 P.M CST. That game will be available on the CBS Sports Network. DePaul won't have much time to dwell on tonight's loss as they pack up and hit the road for Indianapolis to play Butler on Thursday. Tip off is at 6 P.M. CST and the game can be found on FOX Sports 1.