Creighton-Arizona St. Preview
Arizona State's Jahii Carson may not have McDermott's sterling reputation quite yet, but Bluejays coach Greg McDermott sure has taken notice.
The No. 20 Bluejays face the Sun Devils in tournament play for the second straight season when they meet Thursday night in the first round of the Wooden Legacy in Fullerton, Calif.
The NCAA hasn't had a three-time member of the All-America first team since Georgetown's Patrick Ewing and Oklahoma's Wayman Tisdale from 1983-85, but McDermott so far has lived up to his preseason honor.
The 6-foot-8 forward is averaging 27.5 points and 8.0 rebounds for Creighton, which improved to 4-0 with Saturday's 82-72 win over Tulsa. McDermott finished with 33 points and 15 rebounds, and he said he's made a more conscious effort to attack the boards this season.
"This year I think I'm definitely going to have to step up and rebound a lot more," said McDermott, who is the first Creighton player since 1969-70 to open a season with four 20-point games. "I've really focused on that here the last week or so at practice.''
Austin Chatman added 19 points and hit 4 of 5 from 3-point range in the last contest, but the Bluejays committed a season-worst 15 turnovers.
''We definitely weren't our sharpest,'' Greg McDermott said. "Fortunately we got a great performance out of Austin, Doug was outstanding, and it was enough to carry us.''
Doug McDermott's 29 points helped Creighton knock off Arizona State 87-73 in the championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 24, 2012, as it overcame 30 points from Carson.
The sophomore guard has been stellar this season for the Sun Devils (6-0), who are looking to match their best start since 1980-81. Carson is averaging 23.0 points after scoring exactly that many in Monday's 79-77 home win over No. 25 Marquette.
''We're going to see a legitimate top-20 team on Thursday in Arizona State,'' Greg McDermott said. ''We will have to play better than we played (Saturday) on the defensive end of the floor.''
Carson, who scored 40 points in a win over UNLV on Nov. 19, leads a confident Sun Devils team that won't back down against McDermott or the rest of the Bluejays.
''We're not fazed by anybody,'' Carson said. ''We feel like we can come out and play with anybody. I think we have the top guys in the country at each position and we want to go out there and show it.''
Marshall has formed a solid backcourt with Carson by averaging 16.7 points, impressing coach Herb Sendek in the process.
"He's amazing, he's a (big)-game player," Sendek said. "He really steps up in big moments and makes shots. I think his presence on this team adds confidence in so many ways to our guys."
The winner of this contest faces Charleston or San Diego State in the semifinals Friday night, while the losers play in the consolation bracket following that game.