By MIKE ANGELINA
Doug McDermott walked off the court and received a standing ovation with less than two minutes in the game and his team just shy of 100 points. The senior had just passed Larry Bird for 13th on the all-time list in points scored.
His 39 point-performance was more than enough in leading the Bluejays past the Wildcats 101-80 on Sunday night in Omaha, Neb. Though they did not score 27 points of nine straight threes to open the game like last time, the Bluejays jumped out of the gate hot once again.
They raced out to a seven-point lead early, and each time Villanova chipped into it they would quickly answer. In the final stretch before halftime, the Bluejays all but had the game determined. A 14-3 run, capped by a three from Avery Dingman stretched the lead to 15, a minute before halftime.
Things would only get worse from there. A 7-2 Bluejays run opened the half, and Wright was forced to burn two timeouts within 90 seconds and it was the same story for Villanova against Creighton: too much firepower to cover.
The Wildcats’ game plan was a rather flawed one. After allowing nine three’s to Ethan Wragge, Head Coach Jay Wright called for his team to pay extra attention to him in attempt to shut him down. They did, holding him to five points. The problem is, he has a great team around him, including the new scoring king in NCAA Division-I history.
Creighton’s bench also dominated the Wildcats’ bench, something that Villanova had been using as an edge against teams this season. Role players Isaiah Zierden and Devin Brooks scored 13 and 12 respectively, which combined to outscore Villanova’s entire bench.
James Bell led Villanova with 18 points, but was fouled out six minutes remaining. He was called for a more than questionable flagrant foul, but by that point the score was 83-66 and rather out of reach. JayVaughn Pinkston finished with 15 points in the losing effort.
Villanova actually shot 50% from three, hitting 11-of-22. Creighton, however, topped that rate by hitting 9-of-15, or 60%.
This game was a showcase on how dominant McDermott is, who figures to be the leader for National Player of the Year. He eclipsed 30 points for the 23rd time in his career. He shot 13-for-17 and scored Creighton’s first 11 points. By the first TV timeout, he had 11 points compared to six for Villanova. The differential only expanded from there.
It is the first time Creighton defeated the same ranked opponent twice in a single season. In doing so, they won their 16th straight at home, tying a record since opening the Century Link Center.
Defensively, Villanova allowed 100 points for the first time since February 2010. They will have a quick turnaround, allowing them to put this loss behind them. Later Sunday night, the Wildcats will depart for Providence where they will get set to face the Friars on Tuesday night.