No. 11 Creighton came into the Bradley Center Thursday night and defeated Marquette 85-70, retaking the outright lead in the Big East standings.
National Player of the Year favorite Doug McDermott led all scorers with an efficient 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting and 5-for-6 from the line. His wingman and fellow stretch-4 Ethan Wragge added 22 points with six three-pointers.
Free throw shooting cost the Golden Eagles all night long. In a game they lost by 15 points, they shot 20-for-36 (55.6 percent) from the line.
After Creighton opened the second half with an offensive spurt Marquette brought the game within five with a 6-0 run. However, McDermott shut off the momentum with a transition three-pointer from the right wing.
That took the wind out of Marquette’s sails for a while, as did a series of touch fouls at the defensive end. Creighton was in the bonus with more than 13 minutes remaining and Jamil Wilson, Deonte Burton and Davante Gardner all got into foul trouble.
After a personal 4-0 run by Chris Otule, Marquette cut its deficit to six with less than nine minutes to play. A minute later, the Golden Eagles seized some momentum going into the under-8 timeout when Grant Gibbs charged into Derrick Wilson for his fourth foul. They still trailed 64-58, however.
On Creighton’s next possession, McDermott made a fade away bomb of three-pointer with the shot clock winding down that put the Bluejays up 67-59.
Perhaps the deciding play of the game came when Will Artino missed a shot in the post that led to a Marquette run out. Todd Mayo surged down court, but right as he went up to attempt a layup, Jahenns Manigat deftly slapped the ball away from him. Manigat pushed up court and found Austin Chatman, who sunk a three-ball to put Creighton up 72-61 and force Buzz Williams to call timeout.
The Bluejays ran away with it from there and once again cemented why they are the best team in the Big East.
Creighton led 42-35 at the break behind 12 points on four three-pointers from Ethan Wragge. Marquette limited McDermott to just eight points and was led by Jake Thomas and Derrick Wilson with seven apiece. The Bluejays shot an impressive 62.5 percent from the field in the first half, while the Golden Eagles struggled at the free throw line, shooting just 10-for-17.