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Gregory Echenique was honored pregame for scoring his 1,000th point last March.
Courtesy: Creighton Athletics

Men's Hoops Rolls Past Mean Green in Opener, 71-51

OMAHA, Neb. -- No. 16 Creighton men's basketball led for all but eight seconds while posting a decisive 71-51 win over North Texas in the nation's only opening day match-up of two conference favorites.

North Texas took its only lead at 13-11 with 11:28 in the first half after NT's Tony Mitchell closed a personal 7-2 run to give the Mean Green a 13-11 lead. The Jays would answer with Austin Chatman's bank shot from the elbow, then follow with back-to-back scores inside and never looked back.

Creighton led 39-25 at the half after replays removed a Grant Gibbs buzzer-beater that was initially called good.

Creighton continued the onslaught in the second half, as Avery Dingman nailed back-to-back three-pointers to make it 53-30 and end any drama. The Mean Green got no closer than 19 the rest of the night.

First Team All-American Doug McDermott had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead Creighton, while Texas native Austin Chatman had 11 points in his first career start. Dingman made his first four shots and finished with 10 points in 11 minutes. Creighton, held an NT offense that averaged 70.3 points per game last year to just 51 points and limited the Mean Green to 31.9 percent field goal shooting.

North Texas was paced by preseason All-American Tony Mitchell, who led the team with 18 points and seven rebounds but was plagued with second half foul trouble. The game was head coach Tony Benford's first as a head coach at the college level after replacing LSU-bound Johnny Jones in April.

Creighton returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts UAB in a 7:05 pm game at CenturyLink Center Omaha.

NOTES: Creighton has won 39 straight regular-season November home games (since 1989) and 38 straight non-conference home games against unranked teams ... Creighton has won 25 straight home games against winless teams since 1994 ... Creighton is now 80-15 on opening day, including wins in 15 of its last 16 contests and nine wins by 20 or more in the last 13 years ... Creighton coach Greg McDermott has won 11 straight season-opening games ... Creighton has won every Friday home game since 1989 by double-digits and hasn't lost a Friday home game since 1975 ... Doug McDermott had his 21st career double-double and 31st game with 20 or more points. With 21 points, McDermott tied Nate Funk's CenturyLink Center Omaha record with 735 career points in the facility ... The game was McDermott's 75th consecutive start and his 37th straight contest in double-figures ... Austin Chatman's 11 points were one shy of his career best ... Creighton has won 90 straight home games when scoring 70+ points at home and 67 straight home wins against teams with a record of .500 or worse ... Creighton's crowd of 17,139 was its highest ever for a home opener, eclipsing the mark of 16,107 on Nov. 16, 2008 vs. New Mexico ... Ethan Wragge, who blocked six shots all last season, had a career-high three swats on Friday.
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