OMAHA, Neb. – Doug McDermott scored 21 points and Creighton spoiled former coach Dana Altman's return to the Qwest Center with an 84-76 victory over his Oregon Ducks in Game 1 of the College Basketball Invitational championship series Monday night.
McDermott scored nine straight points in a 12-0 run that gave the Bluejays a 58-41 lead four minutes into the second half. The Ducks got no closer than four points the rest of the way.
Gregory Echenique added 15 points and Josh Jones and Jahenns Manigat had 11 apiece for the Bluejays (23-14).
Joevan Catron led Oregon (19-18) with 15 points and nine rebounds. Garrett Sim and Jay-R Strowbridge had 14 points apiece and Johnathan Loyd and E.J. Singler 10 each for the Ducks.
Game 2 is Wednesday in Eugene, Ore., and a third game, if necessary, would be played there Friday.
Altman, Creighton's all-time winningest coach with 327 victories and seven NCAA tournament appearances in 16 years, left the 6,000-student Jesuit school last April for a $1.7 million-a-year offer from Oregon. The move came as a big surprise to his players and Creighton fans.
But in his first trip back to Omaha — one he said he dreaded — he got a warm reception from the CBI single-game record crowd of 12,381. Fans on the floor rose and clapped as Altman walked out of the tunnel to the court. He and his staff shook hands with the Bluejays' staff, and Altman got a quick hug from his Creighton successor, Greg McDermott.
Altman again received long and loud ovation when his name was announced during pregame introductions.
The Bluejays, who have scored at least 82 points in their four CBI games, made nine of their first 10 shots.
Antoine Young gave a quick look to Altman after he made a pull-up jumper in the lane. Then Manigat, the last player recruited by Altman for Creighton, made his third 3-pointer, and the Bluejays' fifth in the first 5½ minutes.
Oregon trailed 44-37 at half and hung around to make a game of it after Doug McDermott fueled Creighton's hot start to the second half.
Strowbridge finished a 16-5 spurt with a layup off a steal, pulling Oregon within 63-57. The Ducks missed four of their next five shots and committed a turnover, and the Bluejays were back in front 70-59 after Kenny Lawson put back his own miss with a dunk.
The Bluejays were up 79-72 before Strowbridge's 3-pointer cut it to four points with 1:30 left
Josh Jones's 3-pointer made it 82-75 with 1:21 left. Oregon's E.J. Singler had a chance to get Oregon within four points, but McDermott blocked his layup try with 40 seconds left, all but ending the Ducks' comeback hopes.