Doug McDermott did Doug McDermott things on his first visit to Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse, scoring 26 points and hitting what turned out to be the game-winning three as No. 18 Creighton beat the Bulldogs, 68-63.
The irony, however, is that Butler actually discovered a pretty effective way of slowing down McDermott in the second half. It happened by accident, as 5-foot-11 Alex Barlow ended up on McDermott of a switch, but the Butler point guard did a good job on McDermott down the stretch. He was physical with McDermott, making it difficult for him to cut through the defense and run off of screens. He was also strong enough, using the leverage his smaller stature provides, to make it tough for McDermott to get position in the post.
In the end, Creighton ended up being too much, and a lot of that credit must go to Will Artino, who finished with 11 points and 10 boards off the bench. It was arguably his best game in a Creighton jersey, and it helped the Bluejays overcome a night where Ethan Wragge and Austin Chatman combined to shoot 2-for-11 from the floor.
With the win, Creighton remains one game behind No. 6 Villanova in the Big East standings, setting up a massive showdown on Sunday afternoon. Villanova has just one loss in Big East play, and it just so happens that Creighton was the team that gave it to them.
By 28 points in a game Creighton led by 20 in the first seven minutes and by 40 in the second half.
It was embarrassing, and now Villanova has a chance to answer with first place in the conference on the line.