January 14, 2014

Hot-Shooting Creighton Downs Butler

OMAHA, NEB. -- Forward Doug McDermott scored a game-high 28 points and nationally-ranked Creighton used a red-hot shooting performance to over-power visiting Butler, 88-60, in a BIG EAST game at the CenturyLink Center on Tuesday (Jan. 14).  It was Butler's fifth straight loss to start the BIG EAST season.

McDermott, the BIG EAST preseason Player of the Year, scored 24 of his points in the first half when the league-leading and 20th-ranked Blue Jays took control of the game.  He scored 13 points in the final nine-and-a-half minutes to fuel a 32-6 Creighton run that left the Bulldogs playing catch-up for the rest of the contest.

Creighton (15-2, 5-0 BE) shot 68% from the field in the first 20 minutes and 56% for the game!  The Blue Jays hit 12 of 16 (75%) shots in the decisive run at the end of the first half.

"(Creighton) got it going and when they get it going and they're shooting the basketball at the level they shot in the first half and got it going in transition, they're really hard to stop," said Butler head coach Brandon Miller of the Blue Jays' early performance.

Playing before a sold-out crowd of 17,206, the Blue Jays scored the first seven points of the game, including a pair of baskets by McDermott.  Butler (10-7, 0-5 BE), coming off an overtime loss to Georgetown on Saturday, finally broke through with a three-point field goal by sophomore Kellen Dunham, and the Bulldogs battled back to close within three-points, 21-18, with just under 10 minutes remaining in the opening period.

That's when the Blue Jays shifted into high gear.  McDermott hit three straight free throws to start the run and center Will Artino added a three-point play to stretch Creighton's lead to nine.

Dunham broke the string with a jumper, but the Blue Jays then ran off 12 straight points to stretch the lead to 39-20.  A basket by Jahenns Manigat took the margin over 20 points, 43-22, and McDermott scored the final five points of the opening period to give Creighton a 53-24 halftime lead.

Butler hit just three of 21 shots in the final nine-and-a-half minutes of the first half.

"I do think our team, for whatever reason, did not have it.  It's the first game where I looked up and saw our guys just didn't have it," stated Miller.  "We didn't have a pep in our step, a hop in our step.  We were slow, we were slow to the ball, we were slow getting back on defense.  For whatever reason, to start the game, we didn't have it and when you play a team as good as Creighton, they make you pay for it."

Dunham wound up leading the Bulldogs with 12 points, more than six points below his season average, while senior Khyle Marshall add 11 points.  Senior Erik Fromm, junior Alex Barlow and freshman Elijah Brown each added eight points.

Junior Kameron Woods led all players with 10 rebounds, but the Bulldogs were out-rebounded for the game, 44-33.

The Bulldogs will try to break their current five-game skid and pick up their first BIG EAST win when they host Marquette on Saturday, Jan. 18.  That game at Hinkle Fieldhouse will start at 2 p.m. (ET).