PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Doug McDermott had 20 points, including a game-winning three-point play with 4.9 seconds left, to lead Creighton to an 83-79 win at Saint Joseph's on Saturday night at Hagan Arena.
Creighton improved to 3-0 for the 13th time in 15 years, but had to overcome a 13-point deficit to do it.
Grant Gibbs grabbed the opening tip and raced to the hoop for a 2-0 edge, but that would be Creighton's only lead of the first half. Four of the Hawks first five hoops would come from three-point range. The lead reached double-figures at 16-6 after just six minutes, and was as large as 24-11 just past the midpoint of the first half.
Ethan Wragge kept Creighton close in the first half, sinking four trifectas in a three-minute span, and the deficit shrank after McDermott and Jahenns Manigat added three-pointers with 2:23 left in the first half. At the break, Saint Joseph's led 45-40, thanks in part to a 17-12 edge on the boards and a 10-1 lead in second-chance points.
Creighton would get three-pointers from Austin Chatman and Gibbs early in the second half to force a 48-all tie with 17:42 left. Chatman later hit a pull-up jumper that provided CU's first lead since the opening seconds at 52-51. A three-point play by McDermott extended the Bluejay lead to 63-60 with 10:41 to play, and Devin Brooks knifed through the defense for a hoop with 9:41 left to put CU up five. Creighton continued to get stops on the defensive end, and Wragge hit his seventh trey to make it 70-62 with 7:54 left and force a Hawks timeout.
Saint Joseph's made a comeback. Chris Wilson drained his fifth trey of the evening with 6:08 left, and a short time later DeAndre Bembry sank his fourth trey of the half to trim CU's lead to two. Gibbs would have a putback with 2:55 left before a Brooks score in traffic returned CU's margin to four with 2:05 left.
Wilson's sixth triple of the game with 1:10 left beat the shot clock, and cut CU's lead to 78-77. Gibbs was then called for an offensive foul with 52.6 left, giving SJU a chance to go ahead. SJU would miss a Langston Galloway shot, but Ronald Roberts would jump over the CU defense to grab the offensive board and be fouled with 27.5 left. He made the first, and after a CU timeout, sank the second for a 79-78 Hawks lead.
Creighton brought the ball to the front court with 23.6 left and called a full timeout. SJU burned through both its fouls to give before Brooks had his shot swatted with 6.9 left. Working without a timeout, the Jays inbounded to McDermott, who hit his fadeaway game-winner and would hit the subsequent free throw.
Brooks then stole the inbounds pass and was fouled, sinking two fouls shots with 2.6 left for the final points.
Wragge led CU with 21 points, while McDermott had 20 points. Also in double-figures was Brooks (16) and Gibbs (11). Gibbs also had six assists and six rebounds. Creighton shot 31-of-56 from the floor (55.4 percent), while sinking half its 22 shots from three-point range. Outrebounded 17-12 in the first half, Creighton won the board battle 29-28 for the night.
CU's bench came up big, helping the Jays to a 39-8 lead in bench points and 36-14 lead in the paint.
Saint Joseph's was paced by 20 points from Bembry, while Wilson finished with 18. Roberts had 13 points, while Langston Galloway added 14.
Creighton returns to the court next Saturday with a 2:32 pm home game vs. Tulsa.
NOTES: Saint Joseph's honored its 1962-63 team at halftime, a group that included future NBA coaches Jack Ramsay and Jim Lynam ...Ethan Wragge had a career-high with seven three-pointers, the first Bluejay to do so since Booker Woodfox had seven treys at Saint Joseph's in 2008 in a game played at the famed Palestra.
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