FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) — Arizona State has seen enough of Creighton’s Doug McDermott.
After being burned for 29 points by McDermott in last year’s championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational, the Sun Devils watched McDermott score 27 points on Thursday night, leading the Bluejays to an 88-60 win in the first round of the Wooden Legacy at Cal State Fullerton.
“They’re difficult to match up against because of the versatility that McDermott has,” Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. “He scored in every fashion from all over the court. When they go with (Ethan) Wragge and McDermott, it can be a difficult matchup for a lot of teams.”
Creighton used a 14-2 run early in the first half of Thursday’s game to pull away from Arizona State. The Sun Devils had their chances to get back into the game only to be met by a response by the Bluejays.
They thwarted their own comeback attempt by shooting 39 percent from the field and a woeful 7 of 18 at the free -throw line.
Jahii Carson led the Sun Devils with 15 points. Jermaine Marshall and Richie Edwards scored 12 apiece.
“We were outplayed in every facet of the game,” Sendek said. “I thought Creighton was really good, as I expected they would be. We’re very disappointed in our performance.”
Creighton will play San Diego State in the second round of the eight-team tournament. ASU faces College of Charleston.
McDermott, selected the Big East player of the week for the second consecutive week, did most of his damage in the first half and had a hard time finding open shots thanks to Arizona State’s defense.
The Sun Devils scored the first three points of the game, but McDermott led that early-first half run that gave the Bluejays the lead for good. McDermott had 12 points through the first 8 minutes but was held to four free throws the rest of the first half. That was partly due to Jonathan Gilling, who spent most of the half shadowing the Bluejays’ top scorer.
The Sun Devils were certainly aware of McDermott’s ability. He scored 29 points against them at the Las Vegas Invitational last season.
Likewise, the Bluejays knew what the Sun Devils had in Carson, who scored 30 points in that game.
Brooks picked up some of the slack on Thursday for Creighton and had 13 points by the break. He finished with a season-high 23 points, including a 4-for-4 night from 3-point range. Prior to Thursday, Brooks had attempted only two 3-point baskets this season. He missed both.
“I cringed a little for the first one,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “To Devon’s credit, he’s been in the gym, working on his shot a lot. He made Arizona State pay for that.
“Devon gave us a very productive 19 minutes on the offensive side and he did a good job on defense as well.”
Doug McDermott said he’ll be more than happy to share in some of the scoring duties with Brooks.
“If teams are going to let him shoot and he hits those, he’s going to be really hard to guard,” Doug McDermott said. “That’s a huge game for Devin and it’s huge for his confidence. We’re so lucky to have him.”
Creighton went into halftime with a 45-31 lead and Jahenns Manigat opened the second half with a 3-pointer from the right wing to increase the margin to 17.
Arizona State turned the ball over on its next possession, leading to two free throws by Austin Chatman.
Gilling was called for traveling, and the turnover resulted in a reverse layup by Chatman. That made it 52-31 just 2 minutes into the second half.
“I give credit to the whole team,” Carson said of the Bluejays. “They loaded the paint and made it tough for us to drive and penetrate. But that was due to the lack of our ball movement.”
Arizona State responded with a 10-0 run that was helped by a missed 3-pointer by McDermott, and Shaquielle McKissic’s steal of McDermott’s cross-court pass.
Creighton used an 11-1 spurt to stretch the lead back to 63-42 before Arizona State rattled off seven unanswered points. The Bluejays followed with a 12-2 run to open a 75-51 cushion.