Courtesy: Creighton Athletics
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Doug McDermott set a BIG EAST Tournament record with 27 points in the first half and No. 14 Creighton never trailed, winning its BIG EAST Tournament debut with an 84-62 victory over DePaul on Thursday.
Creighton (25-6) advances to the semifinal round on Friday 8:30 pm Central, where it meets the winner of Xavier or Marquette. DePaul's season will end with a 12-21 mark.
McDermott made a career-high 7-of-9 three-pointers in the first half and added four two-pointers in the second half to finish with 35. He was joined in double-figures by Bluejay teammates Jahenns Manigat (12) and Austin Chatman (11). Chatman also supplied a game-high nine assists.
DePaul was paced by 22 points from Brandon Young.
Creighton sank 11-of-17 three-pointers in a fast-paced first half, led by a barrage from McDermott that had the patrons at the World's Most Famous Arena left in awe at his every move. The Sports Illustrated cover boy, who later admitted he didn't believe in the magazine's notorious "jinx", sank a three-pointer from the top of the key on CU's first trip to give his team a 3-0 lead and followed with a lay-up that made it 5-3. CU never trailed.
Manigat had three three-pointers McDermott another in a 12-2 run over the span of five possessions that made it 20-8. Later in the stanza McDermott sank consecutive treys to push the margin to 31-20, and an Avery Dingman lay-up gave the Jays a 49-29 lead at intermission. Creighton shot 11-of-17 from deep in the opening half despite not getting a trifecta from the league's most prolific three-point shooter, Ethan Wragge.
DePaul kept competing, slicing a 54-34 lead in half with a 16-6 run before Creighton caught a lucky bounce. Devin Brooks' attempted alley-oop to Will Artino was so far off the mark it hit the corner of the backboard, deflecting to an open Chatman in the corner who buried a three-pointer with four on the shot clock.
The improbable basket stemmed the tide and started a 12-2 run that put the game out of reach. Creighton's largest lead would be 25 (84-59) late before closing out the 22-point win.
Creighton shot 60.4 percent from the field, including 14-22 (63.6 percent) from three-point range. The Bluejays also owned a 33-26 edge on the glass and all 11 men in uniform played.
In addition to Young's 22 points, Jamee Crockett had 13 points. The Blue Demons shot 38.2 percent overall, including 6-of-22 from downtown.
McDermott's 27 points in the first half were the seventh time this year and 10th time in his illustrious career he's surpassed 20 points in a half. It was one more than the previous event record for a half, and also made him the sixth player in NCAA history with three straight seasons of 800 or more points. Additionally, McDermott's 11th 30-point game of the year is a school-record, and also his 35 points are the most ever by a player in their BIG EAST Tourney debut.