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Doug McDermott had a career-high 45 points vs. Providence last time the teams met on Saturday.
Courtesy: Associated Press

BIG EAST Title Up For Grabs As Men's Basketball Meets Providence

2013-14 Creighton Men’s Basketball
Game #33 • BIG EAST Tournament Finals • Saturday, March 15, 2014 • 7:32 pm CST
Providence Friars vs. #14 Creighton Bluejays
Madison Square Garden (19,979) • New York, N.Y.
Radio: KOZN 1620 AM,, Sirius Channel 93, XM Channel 191
TV: FOX Sports 1
Series History: Providence leads series, 7-5
Last Meeting:  Creighton 88, Providence 73 on March 8, 2014 in Omaha, Neb.

-Creighton and Providence split two meetings this season, with the home team winning each game by double-figures. Providence handed CU its first BIG EAST loss on Jan. 18th with an 81-68 home win before CU returned the favor last Saturday with an 88-73 victory in Omaha.
    Doug McDermott averaged 33.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in two games against the Friars, including  a career-high 45 points last weekend. He is the only Bluejay to score more than 7.5 points per game vs. PC this year. Providence has been paced by Bryce Cotton (23.0 ppg., 5.0 apg.) and LaDontae Henton (20.0 ppg.) vs. Creighton, with Kadeem Batts (13.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg.) also averaging a double-double.

-Creighton is 2-0 all-time in the BIG EAST Tournament after posting an 84-62 win over DePaul on Thursday and a 86-78 victory over Xavier last night. In Friday’s victory, Doug McDermott set a pair of BIG EAST Tournament records in the win, including points in a half (27) and points in a tournament debut (35) to lead the victors. Creighton shot 60.4 percent for the game, including 14-of-22 (63.6 percent) from three-point range. On Saturday, McDermott had 32 points while becoming CU’s single-season scoring leader and moving up to fifth on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list in a 86-78 win vs. third-seeded Xavier.

-Creighton will be playing for the chance to win its first BIG EAST title (regular-season or postseason) in any sport on Saturday.

-Creighton has a chance to win a third straight conference tournament title, something it has never done in men’s basketball.
    On a national basis, Creighton, Louisville, New Mexico, New Mexico State and Western Kentucky each have a chance to win its third straight league tournament title this weekend.

-Creighton went 12-1 in MVC Tournament finals, winning its last 10 title games. Creighton won the league tournament in 1978, 1981, 1989, 1991, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2012 and 2013. The program’s only runner-up finish came in 1984, a 70-68 overtime loss at No. 12 Tulsa.

-Last night’s win was Creighton’s 26th, just the fifth time in program history the Bluejays have won 26 games or more. All five times it’s happened have been since 2002-03 (2002-03, 2008-09, 2011-12, 2012-13 and now 2013-14). The school-record for wins is 29, done in both 2002-03 and 2011-12.

-Seven of the eight men that Creighton used in last year’s MVC Tournament title game are on the 2013-14 Creighton club that is vying for tonight’s title. Only Gregory Echenique is missing. In fact, seven of the 10 men to play in Creighton’s 2012 MVC Tournament title game victory are on this year’s roster, as well.
    All told, Creighton’s roster, head coach and assistant coaches have accounted for 34 Missouri Valley, two Northeast Conference and one West Coast Conference Tournament title. With a victory on Saturday, Grant Gibbs can become the rare player to win a league title in three different conferences.

-Greg McDermott is 3-0 all-time in conference tournament title games at the Division I level, but all three games have gone down to the wire. His 2004 Northern Iowa squad defeated Missouri State in double-overtime, his 2012 Creighton team topped Illinois State in one overtime, and last year’s Bluejay team topped Wichita State 68-65 when the Shockers missed a three-pointer in the closing seconds.
    McDermott is 9-1 as Creighton’s coach in league tournament action, including eight straight wins.

-With a win, Creighton would clinch its 19th all-time NCAA Tournament bid, third consecutive, and 10th since the 1998-99 season. Creighton is 11-19 all-time in NCAA Tournament action, and has never been seeded higher than a six seed (2003) since the seeds were initiated in 1981. Last year Creighton defeated (then BIG EAST member) Cincinnati in the second round before dropping a third-round contest to second-seeded Duke.

-Creighton has not trailed in either of its two victories at the 2014 BIG EAST Tournament. It’s the ninth and 10th times this season that Creighton has never trailed in a win. Five of those occurences have taken place when the Bluejays have worn its alternate gray uniforms.

-Creighton’s two wins so far this weekend improved it to 7-0 this season in its alternate gray jerseys, including five wire-to-wire victories. Creighton won all seven games by eight points or more, and has outscored foes 330-194 in the first half of those games (including four leads of 20+ points).
    In 280 minutes wearing the gray jerseys, Creighton has trailed for a total of just 1:55. Lastly, in those seven games, Doug McDermott has averaged 33.0 points per game (including 20.1 in the first half of those games), including five contests of 32 points or more, while shooting 59.6 percent from the field, 58 percent from three-point range and 85 percent at the line.

-Creighton has won 11 straight league tournament games decided by four points or less. That’s noteworthy since five of the first eight BIG EAST Tournament games have been decided by five points or less. Creighton’s two games have been decided by 30 points, while the other six were decided by a combined  spread of 20 points.

-Creighton has shot 60 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range in four of its last eight games. In two games this weekend at the BIG EAST Tournament, Creighton is shooting 57.8 percent from the field and 53.2 percent from downtown, averaging 85.0 points per game while turning it over just 20 times total in the pair of victories.

-Boosted by a 14-for-22 display from downtown on Thursday and 11-for-25 showing last night, Creighton is now shooting a nation-best 42.7 percent from three-point range this season. That would eclipse the previous CU record of 42.4 percent by the 2011-12 club. Creighton’s 334 three-pointers this season also lead the nation and are a school-record.

-Creighton’s  bench has come up big this weekend, producing 29 points and 15 rebounds in two wins. CU’s bench has played 102 minutes this weekend, while Providence has used its bench for 59 total minutes. PC guard Bryce Cotton has averaged a whopping 41.5 minutes per game against BIG EAST teams this year.

-Creighton is the first BIG EAST newcomer to reach the tourney final in its first year in the conference since Villanova in 1981. Providence is appearing in just its second final all-time, joining the 1994 champion squad that topped Georgetown.

-Creighton improved to 3-2 on  neutral floors this season with last night’s win. Creighton is now 10-6 away from home this season, and 38-15 at road/neutral sites in the past three seasons. Each of CU’s last 10 NCAA Tournament qualifiers have finished the season with 10 or more road/neutral victories.

-Last night’s win improved Creighton to 73-9 the last three years when shooting 30 percent or better from three-point range, and 55-4 when shooting 40% percent or better from downtown.

-Junior guard Austin Chatman has had a strong tournament, scoring 11 points in each game and leading CU with 12 assists in the two victories. Chatman has shot 8-for-12 from the field (66.7 percent), stretching his career-long streak of double-figure scoring efforts to four in a row. Creighton is now 11-3 this year when he scores in double-figures this season, and 20-5 in his career.

-Grant Gibbs has shot the ball extremely well of late, making 10-of-14 three-pointers in his past nine games.. Gibbs scored a career-high 20 points in Creighton’s 2012 MVC Tournament finals victory over Illinois State.

-Jahenns Manigat was 4-for-5 from three-point range on Thursday vs. DePaul, then went 2-for-4 on Friday vs. Xavier from deep. Manigat (203) joins fellow seniors Ethan Wragge (327) and Doug McDermott (267) as one of three active Bluejays with at least 200 career trifectas. Creighton has won 26 straight games when Manigat makes three or more treys.

-Creighton won last year’s MVC Tournament with a 68-65 win over Wichita State. All four current Bluejay seniors were on that team and scored in double-figures (Manigat 16, Wragge 15, McDermott 14, Gibbs 11) in the title tilt. Jahenns Manigat led the way with 16 points, including a game-clinching lay-up in the final 15 seconds to beat the shot clock.

-Creighton’s senior class of Grant Gibbs, Ethan Wragge, Doug McDermott and Jahenns Manigat are 106-36 in the past four years, including MVC Tournament titles in 2012 and 2013. The class owns or share Creighton records for most wins in a one-year (29), two-year (57), three-year (83) and four-year (106) span.
    As a group, they’ve combined for 5,839 points, 2,206 rebounds and 1,041 assists while shooting a combined 854-for-1,952 (43.8 percent) from downtown.

-Doug McDermott owns 862 points through 32 games this season, breaking the school-record 834 points he set last season in 36 games as a junior. McDermott, who also had 801 points as a sophomore, is the only player in Creighton history to score more than 740 points in any season.

-Doug McDermott  has become the sixth man in NCAA history to post three straight seasons of 800 points or more, joining an exclusive club featuring Lionel Simmons, Freeman Williams, Wayman Tisdale, Larry Bird, Pete Maravich and Oscar Robertson.

-Doug McDermott has had a busy week collecting hardware. He’s been named National Player of the Year by ESPN’s Dick Vitale, Sporting News, USA Today, and He was also named BIG EAST Player of the Year to become the first player ever to win a league MVP honor in multiple conferences.

-Doug McDermott’s 35 points on Thursday and 32 more on Friday give him 12 games this season of 30 or more points, breaking a CU record of 10 he had shared with Bob Portman. It was also his 25th and 26th career games of 30 or more points, extending another record. Creighton is 25-1 all-time when McDermott scores 30 or more, and 21-0 when he scores 31+ points.
    McDermott owns 20 or more points in 28-of-32 games (and he had 19 in two of those four misses), and 84 such games in his career overall.
    McDermott also has reached double-figures in 132 of 142 career contests, tying the NCAA record for double-figure scoring games in a career originally set by Danny Manning. McDermott can break the record on Saturday with 10 points or more, something he’s done in 25 straight games.
    McDermott, who now owns 32 points or more in three straight games, is the first Bluejay since Benoit Benjamin in 1985 with three consecutive games of 30 points or more. He is also the only player in BIG EAST Tournament history with consecutive games of 32 points or more.

-Doug McDermott continues to race up the NCAA’s all-time scoring chart. He enters Saturday’s final vs. Providence with 3,078 career points and ranks in fifth place in NCAA history. Yesterday he passed Keydren Clark (3,058) and Harry Kelly (3,066). Up next is  Mississippi Valley State’s Alphonso Ford (3,165). McDermott owns 20 or more points in 12 straight games, scoring 25+ in 11 of those.

-Doug McDermott had 35 points in 32 minutes on Thursday and 32 points in 39 minutes on Friday, giving him 112 points in 117 minutes during the past three games. He’s averaged 37.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in those contests, shooting an absurd 41-for-67 from the floor (61.2 percent), including 14-of-23 (60.9 percent) from downtown.

-Doug McDermott established a BIG EAST Tournament record with 27 points in the first half on Thursday. It was the seventh time this season he’s had 20 or more points by the halftime break, and 10th time in his career he’s done it. McDermott’s career-high for any half is 31, done as a sophomore when he finished with 44 points. McDermott now owns 18 halves in his career of 20 or more points compared to just six scoreless halves.
    McDermott had 19 points in yesterday’s first half, and now owns 68 first half points in the past three games alone.
    By comparison, McDermott’s current teammates own a combined nine games of 20 points or more in their college careers.

-Doug McDermott has been Creighton’s leading scorer in 12 straight games, and 23 of the past 24 contests. The game he didn’t pace the team in that stretch was a 28-point win at No. 4 Villanova where he had 23 points, but teammate Ethan Wragge had a career-best 27 on a school-record nine three-pointers. Creighton has had one of its current senior class members (McDermott/Wragge/Manigat/Gibbs) lead the team in scoring in 44 straight games, a streak that started on Feb. 9, 2013.

-Doug McDermott made NCAA history on Wednesday when he was named a unanimous choice for BIG EAST Most Valuable Player. McDermott, the winner of the Larry Bird Most Valuable Player in the Missouri Valley Conference the previous two years, is the first player in NCAA history to win league MVP honors in multiple conferences.
    McDermott also won Most Outstanding Player awards at the 2012 and 2013 MVC Tournaments, something he’s be in contention for on Saturday.

-Doug McDermott appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week along with Jays Dancers Kelsey Saddoris and Kayleigh Begley in a remake of a classic 1977 cover that features Larry Bird and two cheerleaders. A seven-page story written by Luke Winn accompanies the photos. Since taking the SI cover photo on March 5th, McDermott has averaged 37.3 points in three games, all wins.

-Many people thought that Doug McDermott would have an advantage the first time he faced a BIG EAST schedule, but would struggle his second time through the league as defenses adjusted and he wore down. They were wrong.
    In the nine games his first time through the league, McDermott averaged 25.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game while making 51.2 percent of his shots from the floor and 46.2 percent from three-point range.
    In the 11 games during his second trip (and third meetings vs. DePaul & Xavier this weekend) through the BIG EAST, McDermott has averaged 30.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 56.9 percent from the field and 48.6 percent from three-point range.

-Creighton’s Doug McDermott owns 3,078 career points, while his dad Greg had 1,033 career points as a student-athlete at Northern Iowa.  Combined, their total of 4,111 ranks fourth most in NCAA history among father-son duo’s. The rest of the top five is 1) Dell/Stephen Curry (5,024);  2) Steve/Steve Burtt (4,568); 3) Dell/Seth Curry (4,490) and 5) Jimmy Walker/Jalen Rose (3,833).

-Creighton’s Doug McDermott was a perfect 10-for-10 at the line on Friday night vs. Xavier. His 589 career made free throws are one more than the previous record held by Bob Harstad, and have come in 91 fewer attempts.

-Creighton’s Doug McDermott not only leads the nation with 25.9 points per game, he’s also moved past Niagara’s Antoine Mason (845) for the national lead with 862 points scored. The only other player from a BCS league within 150 points of him is North Carolina State’s TJ Warren (797 points). Providence guard Bryce Cotton (704) is a distant third on that list.

-Ethan Wragge owns 103 three-pointers this season, including a 5-for-9 showing yesterday vs. Xavier. The only man with more trifectas in one season in Creighton history is Kyle Korver (129 in 2002-03). Wragge’s 48.4 percent marksmanship from three-point range is the fourth-best mark in CU history, and very close to Doug McDermott’s record mark of 49.0 percent from a year ago. Before Wragge, the last BIG EAST player with more than 100 treys in a season was Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs, brother of Thursday’s Seton Hall hero Sterling Gibbs.
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