McDermott scores 35, Creighton tops Xavier 95-89
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Doug McDermott scored 35 points with his sprained left shoulder, and Creighton held off Xavier 95-89 Sunday to move into a tie for first place in the Big East.
Ethan Wragge added 15 points on five 3-pointers, including three in a row to help the Bluejays add to a four-point halftime lead. Devin Brooks added 14 points as the Bluejays (14-2, 4-0) won their ninth straight game.
Semaj Christon scored 27 points, Justin Martin had 21 and Matt Stainbrook added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Musketeers (13-4, 3-1), whose eight-game win streak ended.
Xavier trailed by as much as 14 points in the second half but cut it to three, 89-86, when Myles Davis hit a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left. Austin Chatman and Jahenns Manigat combined to make six free throws to secure Creighton’s win. The Bluejays are tied with Villanova atop the Big East standings.
McDermott didn’t appear to have any problem with his left shoulder, which he sprained Tuesday against DePaul. He made 13 of 24 shots, including 4 of 10 3s, and had seven rebounds and three assists.
The two-time first-team All-American had 30 or more points for the sixth time this season.
The Bluejays, who came in shooting a Big East-leading 43 percent on 3-pointers, made 14 of 28. Xavier made 12 of 26 from beyond the arc.
Creighton scored on five straight possessions to start the second half, stretching the advantage to 12 when Chatman’s 3-pointer from the corner hit the back of the rim, bounced straight up and dropped through.
Stainbrook muscled his way in for a basket and Martin cut through the lane for a layup to trim Creighton’s lead to 57-49. But the Bluejays stemmed the Musketeers’ momentum when Avery Dingman drove the baseline for a dunk and McDermott put back Devin Brooks’ missed layup. Manigat’s 3-pointer made it 71-57 with 8 minutes to play.
The Bluejays were without guard Grant Gibbs, who is out at least four weeks after dislocating his right kneecap against DePaul. Dingman got his first start in 87 career games and had four points, four assists and four rebounds.
The Musketeers looked ready to blow out the Bluejays early, jumping out to a 12-0 lead on three 3-pointers by Martin and another by Dee Davis. The Bluejays were down by 13 points less than seven minutes into the game, their biggest deficit since their Dec. 1 loss to George Washington. But the Bluejays outscored the Musketeers 31-14 over the next 13 minutes and led 39-35 at half.
After Xavier’s surge to start the game, Creighton got itself and the sold-out CenturyLink Center crowd of 17,589 back into it with a 15-1 run Wragge finished with a 3-pointer. A 3-pointer and layup by McDermott gave the Bluejays a 33-28 lead, but the Musketeers rattled off seven of the next nine points to tie it at 35. Wragge’s deep shot in traffic from behind the top of the key gave Creighton the lead for good.
Gibbs, who had started all 86 of his games at Creighton, watched from behind the Bluejays’ bench in street clothes with a thigh-to-ankle brace on his right leg.