Creighton-Marquette Preview

BY foxsports • February 18, 2014

Greg McDermott does his best to balance the emotions that come with coaching a successful Creighton program and watching as a proud father while his son shines as the team's star.

Be it as a coach or dad, it's difficult not to get caught up in how well Doug McDermott plays on a consistent basis.

Father and son look to help guide the 11th-ranked Bluejays to a third straight victory as they visit surging Marquette on Wednesday night.

Doug McDermott leads the nation in scoring at 25.9 points per game, and he's averaged 32.2 as Creighton (21-4, 11-2) has won four of five to take over first place in the Big East.

He matched his season high with 39 points while hitting 13 of 17 from the field in Sunday's 101-80 rout of then-No. 6 Villanova, passing former Indiana State star Larry Bird for 13th on the NCAA's all-time scoring list.

"It's been pretty cool for our family to watch him continue moving up this ladder," said Greg, who embraced his son after Doug left to a standing ovation with 1:43 remaining. "Watching him pass some of the people he's passed, I think it would be hard for any father who grew up in that era to believe that their son is mentioned in the same sentence with somebody who is probably one of the best players of all-time."

McDermott's ninth 30-point game is one off the single-season school record held by Bob Portman, who had 42 such contests from 1966-69.

"I've just been trying to improve in all areas," McDermott said. "Each year I've tried to improve one thing, and it's paying off. I'm just going to continue to work hard."

Greg McDermott helped his son make the decision to bypass the NBA and return to college for his senior season. Doug has been as focused as ever in helping Creighton succeed in its first season in the Big East. All that's left is a long run in the NCAA tournament.

"He doesn't get satisfied," Greg McDermott said. "It would have been easy having made the decision to come back to have a level of satisfaction, but he's so driven by helping this team win that he just continues to stick with it."

McDermott scored 19 points in a 67-49 win Dec. 31 over Marquette, which secured its first three-game winning streak of the season with an 81-72 victory over Xavier on Saturday.

Senior Jake Thomas hit a career-best six 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 18 points. He went 6 for 22 from behind the arc over his previous five contests.

"I've just been working on my shot a little more," Thomas said. "You just always have to be aggressive as a shooter. You can't let people get in your head. You can't let the last shot get in your head. I'm starting to get back to that."

The Golden Eagles (15-10, 7-5) have won five of seven since a 69-57 overtime loss to Butler on Jan. 18 that coach Buzz Williams used as motivation to get his squad's season on the right track. Marquette scored 27 points off 19 Xavier turnovers.

"True confidence can only come from your work," Williams said. "The stuff I tell (the media) is the same stuff I tell the guys. I believe in our culture that win or lose, it's built on the right things."

Creighton shot a season-high 64.2 percent from the field Sunday, but it had its second-worst showing of the season at 40.3 percent in the first meeting with Marquette.

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