Feb. 16, 2014
OMAHA, Neb. - Doug McDermott reeled off the first 11 points of the day for No. 18 Creighton and his scoring artistry helped the Bluejays defeat No. 6 Villanova 101-80 before the second largest crowd in the history of the CenturyLink Center here today (18.797).
McDermott finished the day with 39 points, converting 13-of-17 from the field, including 4-of-6 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Creighton (20-4 overall, 11-2 BIG EAST) connected on 34-of-53 field goal attempts on the day (.642) and was 9-of-15 from beyond the 3-point arc (.600).
Senior James Bell scored 18 points for the Wildcats (22-3 overall, 10-2 BIG EAST) and added six rebounds in 30 minutes of action before fouling out. Junior JayVaughn Pinkston added 15 points and five caroms for Villanova.
This was the second decisive victory for Creighton in as many meetings with the Wildcats. On Jan. 20, the Bluejays rolled to a 96-68 triumph at the Wells Fargo Center on the strength of a BIG EAST record 21 3-point field goals.
"This sounds like a broken record, but they were great," stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright. "I love their team, I love how they play. They have got extremely smart players and are extremely well-coached.
"They have the best player in the country, who makes everyone around him better. Obviously, they are a tough matchup for us. We've struggled with them both times."
Sophomore Daniel Ochefu opened the scoring with a short jump hook but Creighton turned to its All-American, McDermott. The senior scored the Bluejays' first 11 points and helped stake Creighton to an 11-6 lead with 15:12 left to play in the first period.
The Wildcats were able to keep the Bluejays within striking range thanks to some nifty deep shooting, led by a 4-of-4 effort from beyond the 3-point arc over the first 20 minutes by Bell. Villanova shaved the Creighton lead to 35-31 with a bit over five minutes to play in the half.
However, Creighton used an 11-0 spurt that also created foul trouble for the Wildcats over the final stages of the first half. Hilliard picked up three fouls in less than a minute and Bell and Ochefu spent time on the sidelines with two fouls. The net result was a 50-37 halftime advantage for the home team with McDermott responsible for 22 of those points.
The story of the period was the Bluejays' offensive efficiency. Creighton connected on 18-of-29 first half field goal attempts (.621), including 6-of-9 from beyond the 3-point arc (.667). VU, meanwhile was 12-of-27 from the floor (.444).
The Wildcats were able to create some traction at the defensive end early in the second half. Unfortunately, though, they were stymied at the offensive end. A Grant Gibbs corner 3-pointer and a McDermott run-out dunk allowed the Bluejays to make it a 7-2 run over the first 4:52 of the period and craft their largest lead to that point, 57-39.
Each time the Wildcats made a push, McDermott was there to answer. He drained a 28-foot jumper midway through the period with a hand in his face to push his point total to 29 for the day and Creighton's advantage was 68-49 with 11:57 to play.
Villanova was unable to make a charge over the final ten minutes. The final tally was 101-80.
"It may not have looked like it, but we played them a lot differently than last time," noted Wright. "We didn't double-team as much, we didn't press as much, we didn't trap as much. That's why they are a well-coached team. Last time, they hurt us with threes. This time we didn't guard the dribble very well.
"We adjusted and they adjusted."
Villanova will look for a bounce back effort Tuesday night in another tough venue far from home when it meets Providence at 7 p.m. (Fox Sports 1) at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
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