The Creighton Bluejays have made a seamless transition to the Big East so far this season, as they now have an 18-3 record (8-1 in conference play) with 13 wins in their last 14 games after a 63-60 win over St. John’s on Tuesday night. The Red Storm had four players score in double figures, led by guard D’Angelo Harrison’s 15 points, but Creighton still managed to pull out a close victory despite mostly struggling to get anything going offensively.
Senior forward Doug McDermott hit the game-winning three-pointer with 2.5 seconds to go in the game, and he led the way for Creighton with a season-high 39 points (15-for-26 from the floor; 5-for-9 on three-pointers) as well as six rebounds and two assists. The rest of the Bluejays combined for just 24 points (8-for-21 from the floor; 2-for-7 from three-point range) with 17 turnovers, though notable contributions were made in other categories by guards Avery Dingman (nine rebounds) and Jahenns Manigat (seven rebounds, five assists and two steals).
McDermott spearheaded a run early in the second half to help Creighton build an 18-point lead after they led by just four at halftime, but St. John’s went on two separate runs (11-2 and 12-2) to erase the deficit and give themselves a chance late before McDermott stepped up to give his team a win.
Creighton has a very winnable game coming Feb. 7 against DePaul, but after that three of their next four games will be on the road (St. John’s, Butler and Marquette). The lone home game in that stretch will come Feb. 16 against Villanova, who will certainly be looking to avenge last week’s 28-point loss to the Bluejays and is currently in the top-10 in the country.
Moving to a bigger conference with a wider reach in terms of television audience has allowed the nation to get a closer look at McDermott this year, and he has to be considered the front runner for National Player of the Year right now. Between now and just after Valentine’s Day, we’ll see if his team can maintain their status at the top of the Big East and start a run to a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.