Barry Hinson joked that to bust Southern Illinois' slump he might need a bit of "David Copperfield" magic. He certainly won't be sad to see Doug McDermott advance to the next level.
McDermott had 21 points and 10 rebounds and No. 17 Creighton shot 63 percent, bouncing back from a pair of road losses with an easy 81-51 victory over the struggling Salukis on Sunday night.
Hinson, the Salukis' first-year coach, took solace in a boisterous crowd that stuck around and kept cheering, saying he was "absolutely blown away."
"We've won one league game and I'm not going to apologize for thanking people. I'm not going to apologize for thanking our fans for coming out to watch us play," Hinson said. "I told our players 'If you give great effort, they'll come back.'"
Desmar Jackson scored Southern Illinois' first 10 points then later on went 21 minutes without scoring before finishing with 16 for the Salukis (8-12, 1-8). Southern Illinois has lost nine of 10.
"Sooner or later we'll find a way that we can measure some type of success," Hinson said. "We're in desperate need of a win."Gregory Echenique added 12 points and 11 rebounds and the Bluejays (18-3, 7-2 MVC) were 12 for 20 from 3-point range with Ethan Wragge hitting his first four attempts and Jahenns Manigat going 4 for 4. Creighton also dominated on the boards with a 39-19 cushion and has won 10 straight in the series while shaking off setbacks at Wichita State and Drake.
McDermott was 9 for 13, Echenique was 5 for 6 and Grant Gibbs and Manigat were a combined 9 for 9 for the Bluejays.
The 30-point margin of defeat was the third-largest at SIU Arena, which opened in 1964, and the largest since a 33-point loss to Saint Louis in 1989. Hinson said containing Doug McDermott, the coach's son and the second-leading scorer in the nation with a 23.8-point average, was a "pick your poison" proposition.
"I don't mind telling you, I find a lot of happiness in his son's success," Hinson said. "And I'll find a lot more happiness when his son declares for the NBA draft.
"I have called every NBA team and told them he's the next Larry Bird," he added.
Creighton shot 74 percent in the first half while taking an 18-point lead, reminiscent of last season's matchup at Southern Illinois in which the Bluejays shot a Missouri Valley-record 77.5 percent. McDermott, the second-leading scorer in the nation with a 23.8-point average, was 7 for 8 with a pair of 3-pointers and had 16 points in 14 minutes.
Echenique scored in double figures for the first time in six games and earned his fifth double double of the season. Wragge had been a combined 5 for 18 his previous four games and totaled nine points the last two games.
The Salukis trailed 11-10 thanks to the hot start by Jackson, who hit his first four shots with a pair of 3-pointers. But Jackson missed five of his last six in the half and Southern Illinois had no one to pick up the slack.
Southern Illinois guard Jeff Early served a one-game suspension for a flagrant foul with intent to injure at Northern Iowa.
"We missed him, I don't think it would have made that big a difference," Hinson said. "First of all, we've still got to go back to Omaha. The difference it made to me is he let our team down by his actions.
"We don't condone that, I've been very apologetic for it and hopefully he'll play better on Wednesday night (against Drake)," he said.