OMAHA, Neb. -- Doug McDermott had 29 points and 10 rebounds as Creighton men's basketball opened Missouri Valley Conference play with an 87-70 win over Evansville on Saturday night before 18,458 fans at CenturyLink Center Omaha.
Ranked 12th nationally in the USA Today coaches poll and 16th by the AP, Creighton improved to 12-1 while Evansville dropped to 7-6.
Creighton gave up the game's first basket, but then scored the game's next eight points and would not look back, using a 19-3 run to build a 19-5 lead after seven minutes. CU's lead reached as large as 31-14 on a Jahenns Manigat three-pointer with 7:05 left in the half, but Evansville drew within 45-34 at the break.
Evansville got within seven points twice early in the second half, but would come no closer, as Creighton coasted to victory. The Jays used a 13-2 run to break it open and take its largest lead of the night at 69-48. McDermott scored eight points in that flurry for the hosts.
The Jays reached 75 points on a three-pointer from walk-on guard Taylor Stormberg with 8:26 left, eliciting some of the loudest cheers of the night.
Troy Taylor had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to produce Evansville's second triple-double in school history, while Ryan finished with an impressive 25 points in his first trip to Omaha since a CenturyLink Center Omaha-record 43 last February. UE shot 43.1 percent from the field and made all 11 free-throw attempts.
McDermott and Echenique were joined in double-figures by guards Jahenns Manigat (13 points, five assists, two steals) and Avery Dingman (11 points, seven rebounds). Sophomore point guard Austin Chatman had nine points and eight assists without a turnover in his first Valley start. Creighton outrebounded the Purple Aces 43-27 for the game and shot 49.2 percent from the field and 12-of-24 (50 percent) from downtown.
Creighton returns to action on January 2nd with a 7:05 pm game at Illinois State.
NOTES: Creighton improved to 16-2 all-time in Omaha vs. Evansville, including 14 straight victories ...Creighton improved to 11-4 in its last 15 MVC openers, and is 32-22 all-time in MVC openers ...Since 1993-94, only one team has won at least a share of the MVC regular-season title without winning its league opener (2008-09 co-champion Northern Iowa) ...Creighton capped off its third unbeaten December since 1946-47 (also 2003 and 2008), and didn't trail in the second half of any of its six wins this month ...Creighton's Doug McDermott moved from 48th to 42nd in MVC history and
now owns 1,688 career points, while Evansville's Colt Ryan moved
from 36th to 34th on the same list and now owns 1,756 points ...Troy Taylor's triple-double was the first by an Evansville player since Reed Jackson vs. New Hampshire on Jan. 3, 1995 and the 36th in MVC history. The only other triple-double in the MVC since 1999 was in 2011 by Jake Odum of Indiana State ...Troy Taylor became the second Creighton opponent on record with a triple-double, joining Nick Calathes (Florida) in 2008 ...The crowd of 18,458 was the second-largest home crowd in Creighton history ...Doug McDermott (29/10) and Gregory Echenique (13/13) were the first Bluejay teammates with double-doubles in the same game since McDermott and Kenny Lawson Jr. did it vs. Drake on January 1st, 2011.
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