McDermott milestone as Creighton cruises
Doug McDermott just smiled and shrugged.
Creighton's unassuming star finished with 25 points and surpassed 1,000 for his career Sunday night in the No. 23 Bluejays' 90-71 win over Southern Illinois.
McDermott is only in the middle of his sophomore season and has played just 57 games.
Sure, he said, reaching the milestone was cool. But he, and everyone who has watched McDermott play, knows there are a lot more points in his future.
''I didn't realize I came that far already,'' McDermott said.
''I've got to give credit to my teammates. I really couldn't do it without them. I play with a lot of unselfish guys, and it feels good to get that.''
McDermott, who started the weekend second nationally in scoring at 24.2 points a game, was 8 of 14 from the field. He also had 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season.
Creighton coach Greg McDermott, Doug's dad, noted that it took him four full seasons to score 1,000 points during his playing days at Northern Iowa.
''He's done some special things,'' coach McDermott said. ''He's playing with unselfish guys who know his capabilities. It's a neat milestone — one we'll celebrate briefly and then go on to the next one.''
The Bluejays (16-2, 6-1) have won six straight since they opened Missouri Valley Conference play with a home loss to Missouri State. The Salukis (6-12, 3-4) lost to Creighton for the eighth straight time.
Antoine Young added 14 points and six assists and Gregory Echenique had 11 rebounds to go with his nine points.
Greg McDermott said his team has made significant progress since the loss to Missouri State.
''We're probably a little more focused,'' he said. ''With each passing game, guys care less about themselves and more about the team.''
T.J. Lindsay had 13 points, Jeff Early 11 and Mamadou Seck 10 for the Salukis, who rallied from 15 points down late in the first half to get to 59-55 with 12:38 left.
The Salukis outscored the Bluejays 23-12 over 10 minutes, with seven of their nine field goals coming on layups.
''We let up defensively, and things happen like that,'' said Young, the Bluejays' senior point guard.
''So you've got to take control of the game a little bit, settle down things for the team and look to make plays.''
The Bluejays scored eight of the next 10 points, with Echenique converting Young's lob into his second dunk of the game for a 65-55 lead. The Bluejays led by 20 points in the last two minutes.
After the Salukis had made it a four-point game, seven of their next 10 shots were jumpers, and they missed all but a couple of them.
''We needed to keep force-feeding it inside,'' SIU coach Chris Lowery said. ''We know Doug isn't going to foul. You've got to get attempts and make those guys guard you. We didn't do that.''
Doug McDermott had 14 points and the Bluejays were 20 of 22 on free throws the first half. He scored his 1,000th career point on a one-handed bank-in. He joined Bob Portman, Paul Silas, Rod Mason and Rodney Buford as the only Creighton players to reach the milestone in their first two seasons.
Doug McDermott showed he could pass a little, too, delivering a backdoor pass that Grant Gibbs converted into his first dunk of the season.
''It wasn't a full dunk, but it was cool to see,'' McDermott said. ''He's been waiting for that one for a long time.''
Ethan Wragge hit two 3-pointers and Avery Dingman one during an early 11-3 run, and the Bluejays made seven free throws in a 12-2 spurt that gave them a 31-18 cushion.
The Bluejays are 9-0 in Sunday night games at CenturyLink Center since 2003, and they've won 66 straight home games against teams with .500 records or worse since 2002.