If you leave Doug McDermott this open, with the game on the line, you deserve to lose; plain and simple. And that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday night when Dougie McBuckets drilled an open 3-pointer with 2.0 seconds remaining as No. 20 Creighton survived a late-game comeback from St. John’s with a 63-60 win.
St. John’s did everything to come back from an 18-point deficit to tie the game with 1:38 remaining when JaKarr Sampson collected a loose ball for a layup. After a brief Creighton lead, Rysheed Johnson connected on a pair of free throws to tie it at 60-all.
McDermott scored 39 points, off 15-of-26 shooting to go along with six rebounds and two assists.
In the first half, McDermott went for 20, and in the opening moments of the second half, he was outscoring the entire St. John’s team. The Red Storm defense was designed to take Creighton’s other 3-point shooters out of the equation.
Rest of Creighton: 24
McDermott went off for a season-high 39 points, and St. John’s — despite digging itself in an 18-point hole — still almost pulled out a big conference road victory. If that was the Red Storm’s plan — let Dougie get his, and shut down the rest of the team — it somewhat worked. But if that truly is the game plan, you better have him marked with seconds to go before he lines up an open 3-pointer for the win.
The favorite for the player of the year honors has led Creighton to 13 wins in its last 14 games. The Bluejays are atop the Big East standings with nine days off before hosting DePaul. St. John’s has Marquette at home on Saturday afternoon.
One of the biggest storylines of Saturday’s college basketball schedule had everything to do with a team that no longer matters in the championship picture.
Less than 24 hours after being informed that the school would be imposing a postseason ban that will leave the Cardinals out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, No. 19 Louisville tipped off against Boston College, and they did so without leading scorer Damion Lee, who is battling a knee issue.
How would the team respond to the decision — the despicable, shameful decision — that the university’s president made?
Well, it seems.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first eight minutes and cruised to a 79-47 win over an overmatched Boston College team in the Yum! Center.
And head coach Rick Pitino, after the quote, said exactly what everyone is thinking.
“We should be penalized, no question about it,” he said. “But not this team. But the NCAA didn’t make that decision. We made that decision.”
He’s totally right. The school sacrificed the season — and the only shot that a pair of fifth-year seniors would get to play in the NCAA tournament — to protect the school, the brand and the bottom-line moving forward. Like I said earlier, it’s despicable.
But credit the Cardinals for responding.
Because they still have something on the line. They’re just a game out of first place in the ACC, and while an ACC regular season title isn’t a shot to play in the ACC or NCAA tournament, it’s still a banner that would probably mean more to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis than any league title has meant to a Louisville player before.
Oklahoma State’s star point guard was not in the lineup on Saturday against No. 13 Iowa State.
Evans injured his shoulder in the Cowboys’ loss at Texas Tech on Wednesday and was ruled out of Saturday’s game.
According to the school, his official status moving forward is questionable. The Pokes are just 11-11 on the season and likely need to earn the Big 12’s at-large bid to get into the NCAA tournament. It makes sense to let him get healthy.
Evans was averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 boards this season, but he had been arguably the best point guard in the Big 12 during league play, averaging 15.6 points and 5.6 assists.