Creighton didn’t play their crispest game of the season. They shot just 46.4% from the field and 28% from three — two fairly decent percentages for most teams — and got hammered on the offensive and defensive glass all night. That Doug McDermott guy, though? He was in his usual form, leading Creighton to a 78-66 win over DePaul.
McDermott dropped in 32 points, eclipsing the 30 point mark for the eighth time this season. In the process, he surpassed former Duke guard J.J. Redick on the all-time scoring list, moving up to 17th. Next up on the list is former Tennessee sharpshooter Allan Houston.
As for the game itself, Creighton was playing without guard Devin Brooks tonight. It was reported Brooks wasn’t even in the arena due to an illness, and whether he will be ready to play at St. John’s this coming Sunday is unknown at this time.
For about 33 minutes tonight, Creighton looked like they were in a funk. Perhaps it was the extended time off in between their game before DePaul, St. John’s about a week and a half ago on January 28th. Not having Brooks in the lineup definitely hurt, especially from a rebounding perspective. Although a guard who stands at 6-foot-2, Brooks is a solid rebounder and does many things on the floor that don’t always go noticed for Creighton.
Of course, a home game against Big East cellar dweller on a Friday evening prior to flying out to New York to play St. John’s on Sunday, may have been viewed as the classic trap game. The Bluejays already smoked DePaul earlier this season, 81-62.
When the Blue Demons made it 59-58 with 7:36 remaining, McDermott scored 11 of Creighton’s next 14 points — nine of which came from the free throw line — to dispose any chance of a DePaul upset win.
In looking ahead to Sunday’s game at Madison Square Garden, Creighton figures to be greatly challenged by St. John’s. A few weeks ago, the Johnnies looked all but dead. They were 9-8 overall and 0-5 in the Big East, but they have won five of their past six games to vault to the middle of the Big East standings, and now have renewed hope of an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.
The last time these two teams met, Doug McDermott did this.