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Gregory Echenique
Courtesy: Steven Branscombe

Men's Basketball Soars Past Hawks, 80-51

OMAHA, Neb. -- No. 11 Creighton used a 33-8 run midway through the first half to build a 45-13 lead and never looked back in an impressive 80-51 victory over visiting Saint Joseph's on Saturday.

Creighton improved to 7-1 on the year, avenging an 83-70 loss to Boise State on Wednesday, not to mention an 80-71 loss to St. Joe's last season in Philadelphia. The Hawks, preseason favorites in the Atlantic-10 Conference, fell to 4-2.

Doug McDermott scored on a lay-up 12 seconds into the game and Creighton never trailed. The Jays led 12-5, before turning up the heat with its 33-8 run. Gregory Echenique scored on a variety of post moves inside and scored 11 points during the burst, while McDermott added 10 more to get to 18 points after just 12 minutes of play.

Creighton's lead eventually reached as large as 45-13 before settling for a 47-20 halftime edge.  McDermott had 18 at the break, in addition to five rebounds and three assists, while Echenique had 11 by intermission. Grant Gibbs dished six of CU's 13 first-half assists as the Jays shot 56.7 percent.

The Hawks never got any closer than 24 points in the second half, as nine different Creighton players scored between two and five points.

SJU entered the game with six men averaging in double-figures, but Langston Galloway (10 points) was the only Hawks player to reach double-digits. Carl Jones, who scored 29 last season in Philadelphia against Creighton, had nine points and was held without an assist. The Hawks shot 37.7 percent overall, including 7-of-28 from downtown, while making 4-of-6 free-throws.

McDermott's 23 points paced the Jays, while Echenique finished with 16. McDermott, Echenique and Ethan Wragge all tied for the team-lead with six rebounds. Grant Gibbs dished nine assists without a turnover, while Austin Chatman had six assists and two steals with just one miscue. The Bluejays shot 56.6 percent overall, including 10-of-21 from three-point range, and were perfect in 10 free-throw attempts.

Creighton returns to action on Thursday with a 7:05 pm game at Nebraska.

NOTES: Doug McDermott was 5-for-7 from three-point range, tying a career-high for makes set last season at Saint Joseph's ... Senior Joe Kelling scored his first career points in the final minute with a turnaround jumper ... The 29-point loss was the largest by Saint Joseph's since an 88-52 loss at Xavier on Feb. 17, 2010 ... Creighton was 10-for-10 at the free-throw line, its first perfect performance from the free-throw line in 159 games played at CenturyLink Center Omaha ... Creighton improved to 46-0 at CenturyLink Center Omaha all-time when scoring 80 points or more and has won 93 straight home games when scoring 71 points or more ... The crowd of 17,390 was a sellout ... Grant Gibbs' nine assists without a turnover improved his assist/turnover ratio to 48/8 on the season ... Creighton is now 24-0 all-time when Doug McDermott has 15 points or more in a half. He scored 18 in the first half on Saturday ... Creighton never trailed, the 38th time in 159 all-time CenturyLink Center Omaha games and second time this winter (also Longwood).


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