A chance McDermott, the two-time All-American power forward,
thought he blew.
With the No. 18 Creighton Bluejays down 63-61 with 50 seconds left,
McDermott popped into a sliver of daylight and launched a 3-pointer
from the top of the key over the outstretched arms of Butler
Bulldogs forward Kameron Woods.
"It didn't feel good," said McDermott, who had 26 points and five
rebounds. "I didn't think I made it at all. I was really surprised
it went in."
Because it did, Creighton, on the best roll in school history,
survived for a 68-63 victory over the Bulldogs on Thursday night.
The Bluejays (20-4, 10-2 Big East) won 15 of their last 17 games and
bounced back from a 70-65 loss at St. John's on Sunday. The win is
Creighton's 100th in the last four seasons, an unprecedented
"That's the big one," said McDermott, whose father Greg's tenure as
coach coincides with the success. "It means a lot. We're all proud
and looking for more to come."
This one was far from easy, as struggling Butler attempted to end
its tailspin by pulling off another classic upset at Hinkle
It was not meant to be.
Guard Kellen Dunham, who led the Bulldogs with 16 points, missed a
tough 3-pointer with 5 seconds left that would have tied it at 66.
Butler coach Brandon Miller had guard Elijah Brown set a screen
instead of a big man to try to create confusion.
Creighton rebounded and point guard Austin Chatman made two free
throws to close the scoring.
"This is a really good win for us," Greg McDermott said. "Butler
played their tails off."
The Bulldogs (12-13, 2-11) started the year 10-2 but have lost 11 of
their past 13. Still, after a noncompetitive home loss to Xavier on
Tuesday, Butler bounced back less than 48 hours later with an
"Heck of a game," Miller said. "Our guys played Butler basketball
from start to finish. Couldn't be more proud of the effort, of the
way we fought. Tonight we took a huge step forward."
Butler went 9 of 20 from 3-point range, secured 14 offensive
rebounds and committed just six turnovers. The Bulldogs shot just 39
percent (22-of-57) from the field.
They held a 63-61 lead when forward Khyle Marshall turned over his
right shoulder and banked in a hook shot over McDermott from the
Point guard Alex Barlow had 13 points for Butler, while Woods had 12
rebounds. Center Andrew Chrabascz scored 10 points and Brown and
Marshall added eight each.
Creighton shot 50 percent from the floor (24-of-48) and its
supporting cast was terrific in spite of an off night from center
Ethan Wragge, who had just three points and was 0-of-4 from the
[to top of second column]
Backup center Will Artino controlled the paint with 11 points and a
season-high 10 rebounds, guard Jahenns Manigat scored all nine of
his points in the second half, and Chatman, a small, lightning-fast
point guard, penetrated in the halfcourt and finished with nine
points and six assists.
"We have a lot of guys on our team capable of making big plays,"
Doug McDermott said. "We look for me first, but it makes it really
easy on me. Will had that look in his eye."
After McDermott's go-ahead 3, Chrabascz missed two wild attempts in
the paint and Chatman calmly drained a pair of free throws to give
the Bluejays a 66-63 edge with 18 seconds left.
Chrabascz's third 3-pointer of the season tied the game at 61 with 4
minutes to go, but Creighton's defense locked down from there,
getting three stops on Butler's last four possessions, and secured
another victory in a season full of them.
In the teams' first meeting Jan. 14, won 88-60 by Creighton, the
Bulldogs were completely overwhelmed, allowing McDermott and Co. to
shoot 56 percent.
Early on, it appeared Creighton was on its way to a repeat, riding
12 points from McDermott to a 17-7 lead with 11:28 left in the first
But the Bulldogs dug in and righted the ship by getting their guards
open behind the 3-point arc. Two treys from Dunham and another from
Barlow fueled a 15-6 surge awakened the crowd and put the Bulldogs
ahead for the first time at 27-26 with 4:54 remaining.
Butler scored twice more before the break, but the Bluejays scored
nine points on their final six possessions to lead 37-34 after what
became a highly competitive and entertaining first half.
The fun continued in the second, even after Manigat's third 3 put
Creighton ahead 54-47 with 12:32 left. An immediate 7-0 run — spurred by three Butler scores and two stops — tied it.
At the end, Butler felt pretty good having gone nip-and-tuck with
one of the nation's best.
"It's good for morale," Dunham said. "Creighton's unbelievable."
NOTES: Creighton last played at Hinkle Fieldhouse in 1974. ...
Bluejays F Doug McDermott passed Kevin Bradshaw for 15th place on
the NCAA career scoring list with a 3-pointer early in the first
half. McDermott entered Thursday with 2,798 points. ... Butler
allowed 20 points in the paint in the first half. ... The Bulldogs
have two home games remaining: Feb. 23 against Providence and March
8 against Seton Hall.
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