Published December 29, 2012
OMAHA, Neb. – Colt Ryan had another big game against Creighton, and Troy Taylor posted his first triple-double.
Yet for the 14th straight time, Evansville left with a loss after visiting the Bluejays.
Doug McDermott scored 14 of his 29 points in a 6½-minute stretch of the second half to help the No. 16 Bluejays pull away for an 87-70 victory on Saturday night.
Ryan, who scored an arena-record 43 points last season in Omaha, overcame a slow start to match his season high with 25 points for the Purple Aces (7-6) in the Missouri Valley Conference opener.
"He had a hard time getting good looks at the basket," Evansville coach Marty Simmons said. "That's a credit to Creighton. I thought he stayed with it and kept working and working and working and ended up making a pretty good offensive night for himself."
Taylor, the Aces' senior point guard, had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
"Taylor, that's the kind of kid he is," Simmons said. "He plays so hard. He's pretty much done what we've asked him to do for four years. The way he rebounds from his position is extraordinary, I guess. He's got a big heart, plays really hard."
Gregory Echenique had 13 points and 13 rebounds, Jahenns Manigat added 13 points, and Avery Dingman had 11 for the Bluejays (12-1).
McDermott, the Bluejays' returning All-American, also had 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
Evansville, which hasn't won in Omaha since 1999, cut a 17-point deficit to seven early in the second half. McDermott wasn't much of a factor as he went scoreless during a span of 10:32 over the halves.
McDermott suddenly got going again, and the Bluejays built another cushion. His putback of Grant Gibbs' missed jumper and his three-point play stretched the lead to 59-46 and started his flurry of 14-point spurt.
Ethan Wragge's 3-pointer and another jumper by McDermott made it a 19-point game with under 12 minutes left.
Creighton didn't show much rust in its first game in 10 days. For the third straight game, the Bluejays never trailed. They held a 43-27 rebounding advantage against the undersized Aces.
Evansville, which hadn't played in a week, started 5 of 20 from the field and fell behind by double digits less than 6 minutes in.
"They kind of punched us right in the mouth right out of the gate," Simmons said. "I thought we did a pretty good job of hanging in there. We had a hard time sustaining anything that we wanted to do. I think that had a lot to do with them."
The Bluejays broke the game open with an 11-0 run that Manigat finished with a dazzling drive to the hoop.
Evansville had trouble getting Ryan touches early as Manigat, Gibbs and Dingman took turns defending him. Ryan, who scored 25 in a loss at Butler on Dec. 22, missed four of his first five shots but warmed up the last 5 minutes of the half to help the Aces get the deficit down to 11 at the break.
Evansville got it to 45-38 on Ryan's jumper in the lane and Taylor's layup off a steal early in the second half.
Chatman's 3-pointer restored the double-digit lead, but just briefly. Ryan hit a jumper from the wing, and there was a sense in the sellout crowd of 18,458 — Creighton's second-largest ever — that the Aces weren't going to go away.
But there wasn't much they could do once McDermott found his rhythm, and the Bluejays went on to their sixth straight win.