Published November 20, 2014
Illinois State coach Tim Jankovich said he felt helpless watching No. 13 Creighton break out to a quick and big lead against his Redbirds.
He called a couple of early timeouts, but nothing could slow down the Bluejays as they beat the Redbirds 102-74 on Wednesday night.
"You can dig a 10-0 hole, and I've seen it erased a million times," Jankovich said. "That wasn't going to happen tonight."
Doug McDermott scored 17 of his 25 points in the first half to lead six Creighton players in double figures.
The Bluejays (21-2, 11-1 Missouri Valley Conference) made 13 3-pointers and shot 56.4 percent while winning their 11th straight overall and fourth in a row against the Redbirds (14-9, 6-6).
"That was as good as I've seen them play all year," Jankovich said.
Creighton broke out to a 17-2 lead making eight straight shots and 10 of its first 11, and Doug McDermott was in double figures inside 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, Illinois State committed three turnovers the first 3 minutes.
"There isn't a lot worse feeling than that," Jankovich said. "You're down and out before you feel like it even starts. There are so many issues, you can't hardly address them."
Tyler Brown had 21 points, Bryant Allen added 14 and Nic Moore and Jon Ekey had 11 apiece for the Redbirds.
Creighton's Grant Gibbs had 12 points and seven assists, Jahenns Manigat and Will Artino added 11 points each and Gregory Echenique and Josh Jones had 10 apiece.
Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State's leading scorer who had 26 and 19 points in his previous two games, took only three shots and had just two points in the first half with Echenique and Artino guarding him.
Carmichael, the Valley player of the week, finished with six points on five shots before fouling out with 3:50 left.
"Gregory did a terrific job on Carmichael to start the game," Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. "He never let him get going, and that's critical when you're playing against a guy who has had a hot streak like Jackie has."
Carmichael's inability to get into a rhythm was a big factor, Jankovich said.
"Part of it was we were turning the ball over at a record rate the first 3 or 4 minutes," he said.
Illinois State gave up 100 points for the first time since allowing Oklahoma 112 in 1990.
Creighton went over 100 points for the second time this season. The Bluejays scored 104 against Campbell.
They hadn't gone over 100 against a conference opponent since beating Bradley 111-110 in double-overtime four years ago. It was the first time they went over 100 in a conference game in regulation since a 102-69 win over Evansville in 2000.
The Bluejays made their 13 3s on 25 attempts and are shooting a nation-leading 45.3 percent from long range this season.
"Part of it has to do with our unselfishness," Doug McDermott said. "We're getting really open good looks at the 3-point line. If we continue to knock those down, with the bigs we have, it's going to be a really good year."
The Redbirds got within 14 points early in the second half when Carmichael strode through the lane for a big dunk and Ekey hit a 3. But Jones' 3 a while later restored Creighton's 20-point lead, and it was a 25-point game when Ethan Wragge hit one from long range with 11:12 left.
"You always feel like there's a chance as long as the math adds up and there's enough time," Jankovich said. "I wasn't overly optimistic at that point. We were playing better and things were going our way, but we couldn't sustain that and they built the lead back. They were awfully, awfully good — and we were awful."