ANAHEIM, Calif. – Isaiah Armwood is one George Washington's top scorers and Sunday night he showed he's also one of the Colonials' best defenders.
Armwood got the job of guarding Creighton's leading scorer and was up to the challenge, holding Doug McDermott nearly 21 points below his season average to lead the Colonials to one of their biggest wins in years, a 60-53 victory over the 20th-ranked Bluejays in the Wooden Legacy consolation game Sunday night.
"We just tried to make everything tough for him (McDermott)," Armwood said. "We switched to man from 1-3-1 a little bit. We knew he wasn't that good off the dribble so we tried to limit his touches."
McDermott came in averaging nearly 28 points per game but finished with seven, ending a streak of eight consecutive games with 20 or more points that dated to last season. The last time McDermott was held to single digits was in a win over Indiana State on Jan. 5.
Ethan Wragge scored 16 points and Grant Gibbs added 12 for Bluejays (5-2).
"We gambled by not doubling (McDermott)," Colonials coach Mike Lonergan said. "They have like four guys who shoot 50 percent from 3, so we didn't want to let all those other guys get open 3s. Thanks to Isaiah's great defense, we got away with not doubling him."
It almost turned out to be a costly decision. Wragge scored just one 3-point basket in the first half, but scored 3 in the second half to help the Bluejays retake the lead.
While Wragge became a force from the outside, Gibbs used his big body to do some damage in the paint.
"We're the type of team that has to be absolutely invested in our game plan because we don't have incredible athletes, so every mistake we make is completely on us," Wragge said. "Moving forward, we have to be completely dialed in on both ends of the floor. Anytime we slip away from that is when we play poorly."
Gibbs tied the score 42-all with 8:26 left in the game and the teams wrestled their way to the finish.
Creighton pulled ahead 53-50 when Jahenns Manigat picked up Wragge's 3-point miss and scored with 2:14 left. The Colonials (6-1) regained the lead on consecutive layups by Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald. They closed out the win at the free throw line, catching a break when Creighton's' Devin Brooks was called for an offensive foul with 14 seconds left.
Larsen led four Colonials in double figures with 14 points. McDonald and Armwood scored 12 apiece and Kethan Savage finished with 10.
Creighton entered the game shooting nearly 51 percent from the field, but the Bluejays struggled offensively from the start. McDermott, who averaged 28.5 points in the first two games of the Wooden Legacy, was held to four points on 2-of-7 shooting and the Bluejays shot 30 percent from the field in the first half.
Before Will Artino's reverse layup cut George Washington's lead to 25-15 with 6 minutes left before the break, Creighton had gone 4 of 15 from the field to start the game.
Artino's basket seemed to give the Bluejays some momentum. They converted two of their next three field-goal attempts, though they had trouble making defensive stops. The Colonials continued to keep the pressure up and took a 32-24 lead into halftime.