Published December 09, 2012
| Associated Press
OMAHA, Neb. – A scheduling quirk that had Akron playing only two games in 20 days didn't help the Zips a bit when it came to preparing for 16th-ranked Creighton.
The Zips posted their lowest point total of the season in a 77-61 loss Sunday. They also made a season-low four 3-pointers and shot 42 percent overall.
"You could see those two games in three weeks hurt us," Akron coach Keith Dambrot said. "We just didn't have any juice and life."
Doug McDermott scored 30 points for Creighton, which broke away late in the first half.
McDermott, who made a career-high six 3-pointers, also had 30 points against Wisconsin last month for the Bluejays (9-1).
The Bluejays shot 48 percent and made 10 of 22 3-pointers.
"We knew we couldn't win a game in the mid-70s," Dambrot said. "We did a poor job guarding them. Not to take anything away from them offensively. They're very, very gifted. But we messed up a lot of simple rotations, and we had a hard time with McDermott."
Zeke Marshall and Nick Harney both had 12 points for Akron (4-3), which is 0-25 against ranked opponents since becoming a Division I program in 1980-81.
Creighton's Grant Gibbs had eight assists and no turnovers to go with seven points and six rebounds. Gibbs has 27 assists and one turnover in his last three games.
McDermott needed only eight attempts to make his six 3-pointers, but his best shot of the day might have come after the 7-foot Marshall was isolated on him.
McDermott bided his time with Marshall guarding him from behind. McDermott made a sudden move, shed Marshall and had a clear path to the basket for a layup. The smooth move brought many of the 16,310 fans to their feet.
Two possessions later, McDermott passed up a shot and sent a pass to Gibbs in the lane for a dunk.
After Akron closed within three points late in the half, the Bluejays used an 11-2 flurry that Will Artino finished with a jumper and tip-in for a 43-31 halftime lead.
The Bluejays never let Akron within nine points the rest of the way, but they gave the fans reason to stay.
Gregory Echenique delighted the crowd when he took the baseline on Marshall, faked hard to his left, and then went right for a backboard-shaking dunk.
With the shot clock running down, McDermott snaked around Demetrius Treadwell for a slick left-handed scoop shot.
Jahenns Manigat made a great hustle play after dribbling the ball off his leg. As the ball rolled toward the far end, Manigat took off sprinting and dived to snag it just before it crossed the line. He called timeout to save the possession, and McDermott finished it with his fifth 3-pointer that made it a 16-point lead.
Creighton has won two of the three meetings against the Zips of the Mid-American Conference. The Bluejays won 71-60 in the 2006 NIT and lost 76-67 at Akron in the 2011 BracketBuster.
"They remind me of the Gonzaga teams of the past," Dambrot said. "Really good offensively. Enough size to play. Most importantly, instinctively, they're very good. They have a real good feel for the game. They have good role definition and they're going to play through their guy (McDermott) on every possession. Not many teams can do what they can do. Nobody has stopped them yet. They can play with anybody in the country on good nights."