McDermott scores 20, Creighton defeats Cal 68-54
OMAHA, Neb. (AP)
The Bluejays (9-2) won their fourth game in a row and led from start to finish for a third straight. The Golden Bears (8-4) shot just 36 percent and were held 21 points below their average of 75 a game.
McDermott, who has scored 20 or more points in all but one game this season, missed 6 of his first 7 shots and finished 9 for 21. Austin Chatman added 11 points and Grant Gibbs had 10.
Justin Cobbs led the Bears with 13 points. Tyrone Wallace had 12 points and David Kravish added 11.
Cal was without starting guard Ricky Kreklow, who broke his right hand in practice. Freshman Jabari Bird started in Kreklow's place but left late in the first half with a right ankle injury.
Kravish, who had double-doubles in three of his previous seven games, committed his second foul 5 minutes into the game and didn't return until the start of the second half.
The Bluejays, who average 84 points, were limited to their second-lowest point total of the season while winning for the 50th time in 51 regular-season home games against an unranked opponent.
McDermott scored 34 points in Creighton's 74-64 win at Cal last year, and the Bears all but shut him down until late in the first half. The 6-foot-10 Richard Solomon was the primary defender on the 6-8 McDermott, and he and his teammates gave the two-time first-team All-American no easy shots early. McDermott's only basket in the first 17 minutes was a fast-break layup.
McDermott began to assert himself after Kameron Rooks' baseline jumper pulled the Bears to 20-18. He scored eight points during a 10-1 spurt to close the half, making a couple free throws, scoring against Wallace with a cool spin move and hitting a mid-range jumper. He made it 30-19 with a left-handed putback of Ethan Wragge's miss a second before the buzzer.