OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) leads the nation in 3-point
accuracy and overall field goal percentage, and Illinois State saw
why Wednesday night.
Doug McDermott scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half to
lead six Creighton players in double figures and the
Bluejays rode a fast start to a 102-74 victory.
The Bluejays (21-2, 11-1 Missouri Valley Conference) made 13
3-pointers and shot 56.4 percent while winning their 11th straight
overall and fourth in a row against the Redbirds (14-9, 6-6).
"A very telling stat: We lead the nation in 3-point shooting,
but we didn't take a 3-point shot until our 17th possession of the
game," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "We're turning down
good shots for great shots.
"That may have been as unselfish an offensive performance as
I've ever been a part of. The ball movement, guys turning down
shots, getting it to the hot hand -- it was a thing of beauty from
an offensive standpoint."
Creighton broke out to a 17-2 lead making eight straight shots
and 10 of its first 11, and McDermott was in double figures inside
"We've hopped out to good starts, but today was probably our
best first 4 minutes of a game," guard Grant Gibbs said. "It had
something to do with the atmosphere and being ready to go."
Redbirds coach Tim Jankovich called two quick timeouts to try to
slow things down, but to no avail.
"There isn't a lot worse feeling than that," he said. "You're
down and out before you feel like it even starts. There are so many
issues, you can't hardly address them."
Creighton went over 100 points for the second time this season.
The Bluejays scored 104 against Campbell.
They hadn't gone over 100 against a conference opponent since
beating Bradley 111-110 in double-overtime four years ago. It was
the first time they went over 100 in a conference game in
regulation since a 102-69 win over Evansville in 2000.
Illinois State gave up 100 points for the first time since
allowing Oklahoma 112 in 1990.
The Bluejays made their 13 3s on 25 attempts and are shooting
45.3 percent from long range for the season.
"Part of it has to do with our unselfishness," Doug McDermott
said. "We're getting really open good looks at the 3-point line.
If we continue to knock those down, with the bigs we have, it's
going to be a really good year."
Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State's leading scorer who had 26
and 19 points in his previous two games, took only three shots and
had just two points in the first half with Echenique and Artino
Carmichael, the Valley player of the week, finished with six
points on five shots before fouling out with 3:50 left.
"Gregory did a terrific job on Carmichael to start the game,"
Greg McDermott said. "He never let him get going, and that's
critical when you're playing against a guy who has had a hot streak
like Jackie has."
The Redbirds got within 14 points early in the second half when
Carmichael strode through the lane for a big dunk and Ekey hit a 3.
But Jones' 3 a while later restored Creighton's 20-point lead, and
it was a 25-point game when Ethan Wragge hit one from long range
with 11:12 left.
"You always feel like there's a chance as long as the math adds
up and there's enough time," Jankovich said. "I wasn't overly
optimistic at that point. We were playing better and things were
going our way, but we couldn't sustain that and they built the lead
back. They were awfully, awfully good -- and we were awful."
Doug McDermott, who came into the game as the nation's
third-leading scorer at 23.5 points a game, was 9 of 11 from the
field, including 3 for 3 on 3-pointers.
The Redbirds, who have dropped five of six conference road
games, have lost 23 straight against ranked opponents since 1987.
"You can dig a 10-0 hole, and I've seen it erased a million
times," Jankovich said. "That wasn't going to happen tonight."