McDermott's career high lifts Creighton
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Doug McDermott scored a career-high and CenturyLink Center Omaha-record 45 points and became the eighth player in Division I history to go over 3,000 for a career, and No. 13 Creighton rolled to an 88-73 victory over Providence on Saturday night.
McDermott passed the milestone with a 3-pointer midway through the second half. After the ball went in, he ran backward with his right hand in the air, three fingers raised. At the next timeout Doug and his coach-father, Greg McDermott, shared a long embrace on the court as the team huddled at the bench.
McDermott scored 22 points in the first half as the Bluejays (24-6, 14-4 Big East) put away the Friars (20-11, 10-8) quickly.
Bryce Cotton, the Big East's second-leading scorer, had all of his 23 points in the second half for Providence. LaDontae Henton added 21.
Creighton, which avenged an 81-68 loss at Providence in January, won all 16 of its games at CenturyLink Center for its first perfect home record since 2002-03. The Bluejays finished behind Villanova in their first season in the Big East and will be the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, which starts Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Before the game, McDermott rubbed elbows with billionaire Warren Buffett, who was on hand as a guest of Creighton President Timothy Lannon.
One of the world's richest men, Buffett wore a long-sleeved striped Creighton shirt and had Bluejays logo tattoos affixed to his cheeks and forehead. He was given a McDermott bobblehead, and he mixed for a while with the inhabitants of the Creighton student section. Buffett, known as the ''Oracle of Omaha,'' smiled as a student dressed in a Superman outfit offered him stock tips.
The Bluejays surely meant business in a party atmosphere on Senior Night. They made fast work of the Friars after the sellout crowd of 18,868 - the largest in the arena's 11-year history - roared during pregame introductions for McDermott and fellow seniors Ethan Wragge, Grant Gibbs and Jahenns Manigat. The class helped lead Creighton to a 104-36 record the past four years. The 104 wins are the most over a four-year span for Creighton.
McDermott, who has scored 25 points or more in nine of the last 10 games, looked determined from the start to reach the 3,000-point milestone in front of the home fans. He drove hard to the hoop for the game's first basket, then let loose a big scream as he sprinted back on defense.
The two-time first-team All-American made two 3-pointers while scoring 10 straight points at the start of a 24-5 run that put Creighton up 32-12 in the middle of the first half. He also assisted on 3s by Austin Chatman and Wragge.
Creighton led 45-22 at half and never let the Friars get closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
McDermott, who has scored 40 or more points four times in his career, started the night eight points behind Oscar Robertson for eighth place on the NCAA scoring list and 34 points away from 3,000.
McDermott dunked in transition off Devin Brooks' long pass, bringing the fans to their feet. They were standing again a few minutes later when he took the ball well behind the top of the key and swished the 3-pointer that put him over the top for a 68-45 lead with 11:27 to play. Fans in the ''Whiteout'' crowd high-fived and cheered throughout Providence's next possession, and they didn't stop until Greg and Doug McDermott had broken their embrace.
They hugged again, with father giving son a rub on top of the head, when McDermott went to the bench for the last time with 1:17 to play.
Providence came in off wins in four of five games and fighting to stay in contention for an NCAA tournament bid. The Friars were trying to match their highest win total since 2000-01.
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