PEORIA, Ill. -- Doug McDermott had a career-high 44 points to help the Creighton men's basketball team to a 92-83 road win at Bradley on Saturday night.
McDermott, who made his first 10 shots of the second half and was 18-of-23 overall, eclipsed his previous best of 35 points on Dec. 19 at Tulsa. His 18 field goals tied the record for a Bradley opponent, and were one shy of a CU record. His 44 points are the most in the country this year, and included 31 points in the second half alone.
Creighton improved to 13-2 overall and is in a four-way tie for first in the MVC with a 3-1 league mark. Bradley dropped to 5-11 and is winless in four Valley contests.
Unlike last season's upset loss in Peoria where Creighton fell behind 10-2 in the opening minutes, this year Creighton stormed to a 18-6 lead in the first five minutes, paced by nine points from McDermott. The Jays lead hovered around 10 most of the half before taking their largest lead at 40-23 on back-to-back three-pointers by Ethan Wragge and Jahenns Manigat.
The Braves fought back in the final 2:07 of the half, closing on an 8-2 run that trimmed the Jays halftime lead to 44-34. Creighton shot 56 percent in the half, including 58 percent from downtown, while also sinking all seven free throw tries. McDermott led CU with 13 points, while Manigat had nine points and Gibbs scored eight. Bradley was led by seven points each from Shayok Shayok and Walt Lemon Jr.
Creighton reestablished its dominance early in the second half with a 10-2 run to return the lead to 57-40. McDermott had eight points in the first 4:15 minutes of the second half, while Antoine Young had three points and Gregory Echenique a thunderous dunk.
Creighton's high-powered offense sank its first 11 attempts of the second half, including seven hoops by McDermott, to go ahead 69-49 with 11:13 to play.
Bradley would cut into the lead yet again, drawing within 74-65 with 6:30 to play on a score by Lemon, then 79-71 with 5:15 left on Lemon's second breakaway dunk of the day. But McDermott would answer with his third three-pointer of the half.
But Taylor Brown kept the Braves in it from long-range, sinking a three-pointer to bring BU within six points at the 2:44 mark. Dyricus Simms-Edwards got BU within five with a free throw at 1:52, but a Lemon jumper with 1:05 left missed that could have brought BU within three.
McDermott was fouled and drained two foul shots with 59.5 left to return CU's lead to seven.
Bradley got within six points on Shayok Shayok's hoop with 27.1 left, before McDermott capped his night with his first dunk of the year and 6.2 seconds left.
In addition to McDermott's 44 points, Manigat had 13 points and Echenique had a double-double with 12 poitns adn 12 rebounds. Creighton shot 61.1 percent for the game, including 10-of-20 from long-range, and drained 16-of-19 foul shots. CU also had 28 assists on 33 baskets and outrebounded BU 34-23 while outscoring the hosts 42-26 in the paint.
Bradley was led by Taylor Brown, who scored 22 of his team-high 25 points after halftime,a nd sank 5-of-5 three-point attempts. Lemon had 16 points and eight asssists, Simms-Edwards had 14 and Eastman finished with 10. The Braves shot 49.2 percent on the day and were 13-of-24 (54.2 percent) from deep.
Creighton returns home on Tuesday for an 8 pm start vs. Northern Iowa. Doors open at 6:30 pm, with $1 soda and beer available from 7-8 pm inside CenturyLink Center Omaha.
NOTES:Bradley broadcaster Dave Snell was honored prior to tonight's game for his 1,000th straight broadcast, a streak that dates to 1979 ...Grant Gibbs made his first three shots, running his streak to 11 in a row in a three-game span, before missing a three-point attempt midway through the first half ...Doug McDermott's 18 field goals tied the record for field goals by a BU opponent, set by Detroit's Archie Tullos on Feb. 22, 1988. The 18 field goals were the most by a Bluejay since Benoit Benjamin on Jan. 19, 1985 ...McDermott's 44 points were the most by a Bluejay since Benoit Benjamin had 45 points on Jan. 19, 1985, and sixth-most in Creighton history.