McDermott helps Creighton slip past Cincinnati
Philadelphia, PA – Doug McDermott scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, as the Creighton Bluejays slipped past the Cincinnati Bearcats, 67-63, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Gregory Echenique had 13 points with seven rebounds for the Bluejays (28-7), who got 12 points from Ethan Wragge. Creighton, seeded seventh in the Midwest Region, will next play Duke in the third round Sunday.
"We had some self-inflicted turnovers that we don't normally have, but fortunately we came out of the gate strong," said Creighton head coach Greg McDermott. "Ethan had a great first half, Doug got it going there a little bit, and we were able to build a little bit of a lead and then hang on."
Sean Kilpatrick led four Cincinnati players in double figures with 19 points. Cashmere Wright posted 15 points and six assists for the Bearcats (22-12).
Friday's contest was a matchup of Big East past vs. the future.
Creighton, along with Butler and Xavier, are set to join the new Big East, a basketball-centric conference, this summer. Cincinnati, meanwhile, will remain in the former, soon-to-be-renamed Big East conference.
A Doug McDermott layup with 8:39 remaining gave the Bluejays their largest lead at 52-44.
Cincinnati, which never led in the second half, tied things up at 54-54 with 3:31 to go on a Kilpatrick basket. Echenique put Creighton back on top with a tough layup inside before McDermott and Austin Chatman both made two free throws for a six-point lead with 1:07 to play.
Still down 60-54 after Titus Rubles missed a 3-pointer, Cincinnati tried to force a turnover with its press by double-teaming McDermott. As he tried to create space, McDermott caught Shaquille Thomas with an elbow. The Creighton star was whistled for a Flagrant 1 foul, but Thomas missed both free throws.
On the ensuing Cincinnati possession, Kilpatrick drained a 3-pointer. He then hit a layup to close the gap to 64-63 with 15.5 seconds remaining.
After Chatman sank two foul shots, Kilpatrick misfired a 3-pointer from the left wing. Cheikh Mbodj grabbed the offensive rebound, but he was called for traveling underneath the basket. Chatman then sealed the win with another free throw with 2.9 seconds left.
"Our effort, again, was tremendous as it has been all year. I can't ask any more from my guys from an effort standpoint. Extremely proud of them," said Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin.
Creighton, the nation's leader in field goal percentage, shot a sizzling 63.2 percent in a first half that ended with the MVC Tournament champs up 32-27.
Following the break, Cincinnati clamped down defensively and held the Bluejays to 30.4 percent shooting.
McDermott (813) set Creighton's single-season scoring record. He broke his own mark of 801 points from last year ... The Bluejays overcame 16 turnovers ... Creighton owned a 22-4 edge in made free throws and connected on 7-of-15 3- pointers ... Cincinnati shot 42.2 percent ... The Bearcats had won at least one game in their previous four trips to the NCAA Tournament ... Cincinnati won the two previous meetings with Creighton, including a matchup in the 1962 NCAA tourney.