A win at the BMO Harris Bradley Center does not come easy. But if we have learned anything this season, it is that Doug McDermott and the Creighton Bluejays certainly make things seem effortless.
And on Wednesday, that is just what they did. Behind a 25-point performance from the All-American forward, the Jays got their 22nd victory of the season and 12th victory in conference at the hands of the Marquette Golden Eagles to the tune of 85-70. The win dropped the Golden Eagles to 15-11, and could very well bring Marquette to the NIT for the first time under head coach Buzz Williams.
For a majority of the first half, Marquette seemed to keep Doug in check. Their tough, defensive game plan held the senior superstar to just eight points and Jamil Wilson & Co. kept it close. But it was not to be in Milwaukee, as an explosive second half from the man who might have locked up the National Player of the Year Award helped catapult the Jays inside the electric environment of the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
It was certainly not all McDermott, though. A furious effort from the Bluejays brought them this victory, as they shot 62.2 percent from the field as a team, and drilled 77.2 percent of their free throw attempts on the night.
On the topic of free throws, the second half was bogged down by a gaggle of fouls. In all, Marquette and Creighton combined for 58 free throw attempts on the night, and it became clear that neither team gained anything positive from the amount of whistles blown during the contest.
Ethan Wragge regained his composure tonight and exploded for 22 points on the night. The senior shot 75.0 percent from beyond the arc on eight three-point field goal attempts, and added three rebounds and two assists as well.
The backcourt for Creighton found their own level of success, too. Austin Chatman, Jahenns Manigat and Devin Brooks combined for 27 points, with the junior point guard Chatman leading the way with 10. The trio found other ways to get involved as well, combining for 10 assists and 10 rebounds, as well.
For Marquette, it was more or less the same struggles we have grown accustomed to this season. The team's shooting was not nearly as bad as it has been, although the 18.2 percent mark from downtown will go down as a huge blemish.
But it was on defense that they were so uncharacteristically gashed. Despite cutting the lead to 64-59, Marquette allowed Creighton to trounce them for 21 points on their next 11 possessions, per Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated.
If you want to find the difference in the ball game, it was undoubtedly that sequence in the 2nd Half.
The Bluejays and their high-octane offense will travel back to Omaha for a matchup with the Seton Hall Pirates on Sunday, Feb. 23. Meanwhile, the Marquette Golden Eagles will try to rebound off of this tough home loss on Saturday, Feb. 22 when they take on DePaul in Rosemont, Ill.