MILWAUKEE – Marquette's hope of upsetting No. 11 Creighton was lost at the free-throw and 3-point lines.
The Golden Eagles, riding a three-game winning streak, missed 16 of 36 free-throw attempts and were just 2 of 11 from beyond the arc as the Bluejays (22-4, 12-2 Big East) pulled away in the second half behind Doug McDermott for an 85-70 victory on Wednesday night in a game plagued by 52 fouls.
"We didn't shoot the ball very well from 3. I thought we took the right amount," said Marquette coach Buzz Williams. "We didn't shoot the ball from the free-throw line, even though I'm pleased with the numbers of attempts."
McDermott continued his climb up the all-time scoring list, scoring 17 of his 25 points in the second half. McDermott, who entered as the nation's leading scorer at 25.9 points per game, pushed his career total to 2,888 and moved past Houston's Elvin Hayes (2,884) and North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough (2,872) into 11th place on the career list.
"He's constantly moving," said Marquette point guard Derrick Wilson, who at times was guarding the 6-foot-8 McDermott. "He's the most active player probably in NCAA basketball. That's why he gets so many shots. If he doesn't get the ball in the post, he's popping, he's slipping, he's setting screens. He's just constantly moving. That's hard to guard, especially at his height and his size. And, he can shoot. He can play inside and out."
Marquette (15-11, 7-6) pulled within 64-59 when Todd Mayo made the first of two free throws, but McDermott scored seven points to trigger a 10-2 run to push the lead to 74-61 with 4:39 left.
The Golden Eagles, who made 24 of 27 free throws in an 81-72 victory over Xavier, missed seven of their final 12 free-throw attempts.
"We're built to shoot free throws in the same manner that they're built to shoot 3s . but, you do have to make more than 56 percent of your free throws regardless of the number of attempts," Williams said.
Ethan Wragge added 22 points for Creighton, making 6 of 8 3-point attempts, and guard Austin Chatmna added 10 points, despite being limited to 20 minutes with foul trouble. Mayo had 13 points for the Golden Eagles and Deonte Burton added 11.
"They are really talented offensively," Williams said. "They spread you out. They put you in a lot of positions where you just have to pick your poison, whatever that may be."
The Bluejays were called for 30 fouls and Marquette 22.
"I'm not sure we've had 30 fouls called on us in my four years at Creighton," said Bluejays coach Greg McDermott , Doug's father. "It was just one of those games that was physical and they tried to control it; just two teams playing hard."
The Bluejays did not trail over the final 20 minutes after leading 42-35 at halftime.
Creighton hit five of its first six 3-point attempts, including three straight by Wragge, to take a 17-13 lead with 14:07 left in the half.
The Bluejays extended the lead to 26-16 on an easy layup by McDermott, but Marquette chipped away, pulling with 35-31 on two free throws by Burton.
Creighton pushed the lead back to 42-32 on two free throws by McDermott, but Jamil Wilson's three-point play cut the lead to 42-35 at halftime.
"We tried a lot of different things, weren't very successful at many," Williams said. "3 (McDermott) shot 75 percent from the field, 34 (Wragge) had 18 points from 3, and they shot 63 percent for the game. That is really good offense and subpar defense, as it relates to us giving ourselves a chance to win."
Greg McDermott said it's hard to imagine his son being mentioned in the same sentence as some of basketball's all-time greats. In his previous game, a 39-point effort in a 101-80 victory over No. 9 Villanova, Doug McDermott moved past Otis Birdsong and Larry Bird on the scoring charts.
"It is really hard to believe. It is really surreal," Greg McDermott said. "Larry Bird was playing when I was growing up. When I was in high school he was playing in college and then I followed his NBA career. To have your son mentioned in the same sentence as Larry Bird is hard to fathom some times. But it has been a really neat experience for our family."