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OMAHA, Neb. – Doug McDermott scored 32 points — 11 during a 14-2 run after DePaul pulled within a point in the second half — and No. 12 Creighton beat the Blue Demons 78-66 on Friday night.
The Bluejays (19-3, 9-1 Big East) have won 14 of their last 15 games. DePaul (10-14, 2-9) has lost six in a row.
DePaul trailed by 14 in the first half, but closed to 59-58 after dominating the boards early in the second half. McDermott was 9 of 21 from the field and made 13 of 14 free throws, including 9 of 10 in the last 7 minutes as the Bluejays pulled away. DePaul managed only three field goals in the last 7½ minutes.
Austin Chatman added 11 points for the Bluejays. McDermott grabbed nine rebounds to go over 1,000 for his career.
Brandon Young had 16 points and Forrest Robinson added 11 for the Blue Demons, who held a 41-31 advantage on the boards. R.J. Currington was held to two points after scoring in double figures in three straight games.
The game marked the return of guard Grant Gibbs, who dislocated his right kneecap in the first meeting with DePaul on Jan. 7 and missed six games. He entered to a standing ovation three minutes after the opening tip and assisted on two straight baskets by McDermott. Gibbs sat out 4 minutes, then came back and threw a lob from the 3-point arc to set up McDermott's dunk that gave the Bluejays a double-digit lead.
Gibbs finished with seven points and eight assists in 21 minutes.
Creighton played without backup guard Devin Brooks, who was ill. The Blue Demons played a fourth straight game without scoring leader Cleveland Melvin, who is suspended indefinitely.
Will Artino's layup broke a 13-13 tie and started an 18-4 run. The Bluejays, who hadn't played in 10 days, showed no signs of rust. They made 13 of their first 20 shots and didn't commit a turnover until Gibbs was called for traveling with under 7 minutes left in the half.
Creighton won its 16th straight at home, tying the program's longest streak since it moved into the CenturyLink Center in 2003. The Bluejays won their 99th game in the last four years, tying the school record set from 1999-2003.
Creighton officials promoted the game as "Lumberjack Night" in honor of bearded Minnesotan Ethan Wragge, the Bluejays' 3-point specialist. Fans were encouraged to wear flannel shirts, and fake beards and foam axes were handed out to students at the door.
Wragge had nine points, going 3 of 5 from 3-point range.