OMAHA, Neb. -- Doug McDermott had 32 points and surpassed 1,000 career rebounds and 1,000 career field goals as No. 12 Creighton topped DePaul, 78-66, on Friday night before 18,323 fans at CenturyLink Center Omaha.
Creighton improved to 19-3 with the win and remained tied atop the BIG EAST Conference with a 9-1 league mark. DePaul fell to 10-14 and is 2-9 in league play.
The Bluejays never trailed in the final 38 minutes, but a feisty Blue Demons team battled the Bluejays to the final few minutes before an energetic crowd on "Lumberjack Night", where the school encouraged fans to grow a beard and wear flannel to honor senior forward Ethan Wragge.
Creighton took its first lead of the night at 6-5 on a reverse lay-up by Avery Dingman, and would not trail again. With the score knotted at 13-all, CU embarked on an 11-2 run that was capped off by just the 15th dunk of McDermott's career.
The Bluejay lead reached as large as 14 on two occasions in the first half before CU settled for a 39-31 lead at intermission behind 15 points from McDermott.
DePaul missed four straight shots to open the second half, but grabbed four offensive rebounds before finally being fouled and hitting a free throw. The visitors continued their attacking ways and steadily drew closer and closer, getting as close as 57-56 on a trey from Forrest Robinson with 9:05 left, and later 59-58 with 7:35 to go on a Durrell McDonald hoop.
McDermott then took over. He had 11 points in a decisive 13-2 run as the Bluejay defense stepped up and got stops on seven straight possessions at one point. A three-pointer by Jahenns Manigat in the final minute gave the fans free Godfathers Pizza (when CU scores 75) before the game wound up 78-66.
Brandon Young had 16 points and seven rebounds, but was hounded into 5-for-17 shooting. Robinson added 11 points before fouling out, while Billy Garrett had nine points and five rebounds. The Blue Demons shot 39.7 percent for the game and outrebounded the Bluejays 41-31, scoring 20 points following its 16 offensive rebounds.
McDermott's 32 points moved him past J.J. Redick and into 17th place in NCAA history with 2,773 career points. It was his 22nd career game with 30 or more points, tying Bob Portman's CU record, and also his 74th game of 20 or more points. He went over 1,000 career field goals on a lay-up off a Grant Gibbs feed with 9:54 to play, then grabbed his 1,000th career rebound with 6:54 left off a missed free throw by Hamilton. McDermott became the eighth man in NCAA history with at least 2,750 points and 1,000 career rebounds.
Austin Chatman was the only other Bluejay in double-figures, scoring 11 points to go with five rebounds. Gibbs made his return after a dislocated kneecap on Jan. 7 in the last meeting with DePaul and made an immediate impact, dishing assists on his first two touches. Gibbs finished with eight assists, seven points and five rebounds in 21 minutes of work. Creighton shot 46.4 percent from the field, 7-of-25 from downtown, and were 19-of-21 at the line. Creighton improved its nation-leading assist/turnover ratio as well, finishing with 20 assists and just four miscues.
Creighton will fly to New York City mid-day on Saturday to prepare for Sunday night's 6:02 pm Central game at St. John's in a rematch of a Jan. 28 game won by CU 63-60 on three-pointer from McDermott with 2.8 seconds left.
NOTES: Before Doug McDermott, the last player to reach 1,000 career field goals was eventual Wooden Award winner Calbert Cheaney in 1992-93 for Indiana ... Creighton has now won 99 games in the last four years, tying the best four-year span in school history (also 1999-03) ... Grant Gibbs had seven points and now owns 701 in his career, including his Gonzaga days ...Ethan Wragge moved into 31st place in school history with his nine points tonight, making 3-of-5 three-pointers ... Ethan Wragge has made a three-pointer in 22 straight games, the fifth-longest streak in program history ...Avery Dingman moved over the 300 point milestone in his career .... Creighton has not lost a Friday home game since 1975 and won every Friday home game its played since 1989 by double-digits.
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