Creighton beats DePaul 81-62
By BRIAN SANDALOW
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) For a guy who couldn't lift his left shoulder, Doug McDermott was pretty good Tuesday night.
McDermott scored 19 points and played after an injury scare to his left shoulder, keeping Creighton unbeaten in the Big East Conference with an 81-62 win over DePaul.
McDermott, a two-time consensus All-American, briefly left the game with 1:24 remaining in the first after appearing to jam his left shoulder after colliding with DePaul's Peter Ryckbosch. McDermott returned with 19.5 seconds left and ended the half with a buzzer-beating layup, giving the Bluejays a 37-32 lead.
McDermott was the last Bluejay to emerge from the locker room for the second half, when he scored 12 points. With their star in the lineup, albeit one clearly favoring his shoulder, the Bluejays took their first double-digit lead at 51-38 on Avery Dingman's four-point play with 15:09 left.
"I've never really had that feeling before, so it was tough at the time," McDermott said. "I really wanted to go there in the second half. It didn't feel the best but I was able to gut it out and get the win."
Coach Greg McDermott said Doug McDermott would probably have an MRI on Wednesday to determine the extent of the injury, which him from lifting his arm above the head and forced him to play primarily inside.
Doug McDermott's injury wasn't the only one for the Bluejays (13-2, 3-0). With 5:03 left in the first, guard Grant Gibbs left after suffering a right knee injury while fighting for a rebound.
Greg McDermott said Gibbs will also get an MRI for an injury he thinks is more serious than Doug McDermott's. Gibbs' injury also meant the Bluejays needed their standout even more.
"I was proud of the way he got baskets and battled through it," Greg McDermott said. "We needed him on the floor, obviously in Grant's absence."
The Bluejays also got 16 points from Dingman and 12 from Ethan Wragge, helping Creighton win its eighth in a row. After moving from the Missouri Valley Conference into the remodeled Big East this summer, the Bluejays have gotten off to a strong start in their new surroundings, beating Marquette, Seton Hall and now DePaul.
The shoulder incident, though, was part of a difficult first half for Doug McDermott and Creighton, which beat a DePaul team in the middle of a stretch of four games in 10 days.
The reigning Big East Conference player of the week who entered Tuesday averaging 24.7 points per game, McDermott struggled early. He was 6 of 16 on Tuesday, and just 2 of 8 for seven points in the opening 20 minutes.
His first basket, a 3-pointer with 7:19 remaining in the first half, gave Creighton its first lead at 24-23. The Bluejays went into halftime with the five-point advantage despite making only 13 of 31 shots.
"I was really pleased at halftime because I didn't feel like we played necessarily that well, yet we still had a lead," Greg McDermott said.
The Blue Demons cut the lead to six on a Brandon Young three-point play with 7:14 left, but got no closer.
DePaul (8-8, 0-3) was led by Young's 24 points, and also got 16 from Cleveland Melvin. DePaul shot just 40.4 percent (23 of 57) on its way to its fourth loss in five.
For Young, it was an improvement from his performance at Marquette, when he went 0 for 9 from the floor and scored no points.
"Just me being more aggressive, my teammates believing in me and still trusting in me," Young said. "I could score as many points - that doesn't matter if we still wound up losing. We've just got to go back to the drawing board and fix a couple tweaks that we have.
"We're going to get better. I believe and I have faith."
The Blue Demons were playing their first home game since Dec. 18, when they beat Houston Baptist 78-58, but suffered their third-straight loss to start conference play after dropping decisions at Georgetown and Marquette.
The early struggles continue a disconcerting trend for DePaul. The Blue Demons have finished alone in last place in the Big East Conference each of the last five seasons, going 7-83 in league play over that span.
"We're playing 48 hours from now, and I just told the guys we've got to play longer and better," DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. "We can't hang our heads. We've got to get right back out there and get up to Butler and see if we can't crack that nut."
Updated January 8, 2014