Doug McDermott is the best player in the nation and if there was any doubt, the senior forward quelled all differing thoughts with his performance against the St. John's Red Storm. McDermott was unbelievable, tallying 39 points on 15-26 shooting, 6 boards and 2 assists. McDermott capped the best performance of his career by fittingly hitting the game-winning 3-pointer right in Chris Obekpa's face. An amazing performance for the National Player of the Year front runner.
St. John's actually did a stellar job defending Creighton as a team. The Red Storm held the Blue Jays to 63 points--19 under their season average--and forced the 20th-ranked team in the nation into 17 turnovers. Outside of McDermott's 15-26 shooting performance, Creighton shot just 8-21 from the field and the recently red hot Ethan Wragge was a complete non-factor.
The Johnnies went into the half down four but completely fell apart in the opening minutes of the second half as the Blue Jays went on a 17-1 run that put them up 18. Despite being down double-digits in front of a raucous road crowd, St. John's showed great resolve and never quit. Using its athletic advantage, the Red Storm started to pressure the ball and used their quick hands to force turnovers. With the defensive pressure revved up, the Johnnies began to push the tempo on offense and behind D'Angelo Harrison's 13 second half points and runs of 11-2 and 12-2, the Johnnies came storming back.
After JaKarr Sampson tied the game at 58 to complete the comeback with 90 seconds left, McDermott hit a jumper to put Creighton up two. On the other end, Rysheed Jordan was whistled on a questionable charge call but St. John's buckled down on the defensive end and forced McDermott into a tough shot. On the other end, Creighton's Austin Chatman fouled Jordan as he was driving to the basket to put him at the line for two shots--a wise decision considering the freshman was just 1-4 from the stripe for the game. Showing great poise for a first year player, Jordan stepped to the line and nailed both free throws to tie the game back at 60 with 11 seconds left.
Following a timeout, Creighton's Jahenns Manigat found an open McDermott on the left wing and the unstoppable scorer nailed a 25-foot jumper with 2.8 seconds left. Phil Greene IV's last second heave fell well short and St. John's suffered another gut-wrenching lost, it's sixth in conference play and ninth overall.
Chris Obekpa finished with 11 points and 5 rebounds and looked competent on offense for the first time this season. Harrison scored 15 points on 5-11 shooting but took a lot of bad shots early in the shot clock that really hurt the team. St. John's is off until Saturday when it hosts Marquette at Madison Square Garden for a matinee game.