Jan. 20, 2014
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - A blistering night of 3-point shooting lifted Creighton to a 96-68 victory over the No. 4/5 Villanova Wildcats in a BIG EAST clash at the Wells Fargo Center. Creighton finished the night with made 21 3-point goals to improve to 16-3 overall, 6-1 in the BIG EAST. The Bluejays are now atop the conference as VU falls to 16-2 overall, 5-1 in conference action.
The 21 made 3-point goals are a new record in a BIG EAST game, eclipsing a mark set by Notre Dame in a 2011 game.
"They were outstanding," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "We have played a lot of good games and have had some games where we haven't been on top of it. We didn't execute well defensively. The executed extremely well offensively. They were just really on the top of their game."
"When you get behind a team like that, with the way they move the ball with their passing was tough to overcome."
The deluge of triples began early. Ethan Wragge knocked down a 3-pointer in the first minute and it wasn't long before the Bluejays held a 27-8 lead thanks to nine 3-pointers.
"Wragge was incredible and I thought (Austin) Chatman was too," explained Wright. "We had great respect for him coming in as a point guard. He just controls the tempo and gets everybody shots. Then when he needs to make a play, he makes a play."
The furious pace continued over the next five minutes as Creighton extended its lead to 42-17 with 7:56 left in the first period. The Bluejays were 12-of-16 from deep at that point in the contest.
Also critical in the surge was the work of returning first team All-American Doug McDermott, who finished with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes of action.
"They run their offense through him," noted Wright. "They put the ball in his hands and allow him to make decisions. Chatman does that too. So they've got two guys who do that. It's rare to get a playmaker out of the post but they can also have Chatman handle that. It makes them tough to guard."
Villanova slowed Creighton over the final eight minutes of the first half and surged back to within 54-41 at halftime.
"We felt good," stated Wright. "They came out and made shots and we withstood that. To start the second half we came out, got a great stop, but didn't rebound it. There was a second possession like that in that stretch. Right then, I could tell we just weren't ourselves.
"We had to try to fight through that. We you are down 13 they had already established they were shooting the ball (well). You get those stops and get it down to nine or eight, then there is more game pressure on those threes."
But Creighton used a 20-4 sprint to open the second half and the Bluejays lead remained above 25 the rest of the night.
"We'll learn from this," stated Wright. "It's still early in the season. We have to keep getting better - it's really simple. You certainly don't like to do it this way. You can win and learn - that's what we wanted to do.
"Sometimes, you've got to give Creighton credit. We had a lot of good games in a row and wanted to give a better effort. We didn't but they had a lot to do with it." Senior James Bell led Villanova with 19 points.
Villanova travels to Milwaukee to meet Marquette on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. (Fox Sports 1).
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