The Bluejay beat goes on.
On a night where Doug McDermott notched 1,000 career field goals and 1,000 career rebounds, and on a night where Ethan Wragge and his beard were honored with a fun, light-hearted "LumberJack Night" promotion, the Creighton Bluejays still had work to do.
The struggling DePaul Blue Demons made their way into Omaha with revenge on their minds. They certainly had not forgotten the defeat they suffered at the hands of Doug McDermott & Co. exactly one month ago in Rosemont, Ill. And for a while, it appeared as Oliver Purnell's club would extract much-needed vengeance on the Bluejays.
But, the man who might very well be at the top of the National Player of the Year race would not allow that to happen.
On the back of 32 points from their All-American forward, who scored 11 on a 14-2 run late in the 2nd Half, Creighton came away with their 19th victory of the season. They would dismantle DePaul's hopes of avenging their loss one month ago, winning to the tune of 78-66.
Certainly, the Ames native was not as efficient last night as he had been in many prior contests. The senior forward shot 42.8 percent from the field on 21 attempts, but he found a way to make things happen. One way that he did was with a tremendous ability to get to the free throw line. McDermott took 14 FT attempts on the night, and missed on just one of them.
While the night was about Ethan Wragge and his facial hair, Wragge showed that he could be his usual self on the court, as well. Wragge shot 60.0 percent from the perimeter, taking five attempts and scoring nine points on the night. The senior from Eden Prairie, Mn. added four rebounds to his night as well.
Friday night also marked the return of Grant Gibbs. Gibbs, who suffered a kneecap injury one month to the day against the very same DePaul Blue Demons, played limited minutes but picked up right from where he left off. No rust was to be found, as the sixth-year senior forward scored seven, grabbed five rebounds and threw out eight assists.
But rust was to be found just about elsewhere on Friday night. The Bluejays uncharacteristically shot under 50.0 percent from the field and just 28.0 percent from the 3-point arc. And the Blue Demons feasted on that.
DePaul meanwhile did not shoot very efficiently, but it was clear that they were tenacious enough to feast upon the Bluejay mistakes. They held a 41-31 rebounding edge on Friday night, outpacing the Bluejays especially on the offensive glass 16-7.
But, in the end, DePaul's inefficiencies were their undoing. Just two players were in double figures, as guard Brandon Young and forward Forrest Robinson scored 16 and 11 points respectively.
It will be a quick turnaround for Creighton, as they will be heading to The World's Most Famous Arena for a matchup with the surging St. John's Red Storm on Sunday evening. DePaul, meanwhile, will bring their struggles back to Rosemont for a matchup with No. 6 Villanova on Wednesday.