Key Stats: Creighton outscores UNI 44-40 on points in the paint, and goes a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line in the second half. Jays hold UNI’s Marc Sonnen, fresh off making 7 three-pointers on Saturday, to just four field goal attempts and five points.
Favorite Moment: It’s become apparent in recent games that making Doug McDermott angry is a bad philosophy. Missouri State’s fans taunted him with chants of “Daddy’s Boy”, so he punished them by outscoring their entire team in the second half. Northern Iowa tried to intimidate him with tough, physical defense, but instead of shirking away, Doug turned into Inigo Montoya, scoring 21 of Creighton’s final 34 points to effectively kill any chances UNI had of pulling an upset. He punctuated the night with a titanic two-handed slam — off the dribble! — that first brought the crowd and later SportsCenter anchor Karl Ravech to their knees.
But my favorite moment of the game came with 1:51 to go in the first half and the Jays on offense. The ball got knocked loose to the right of the hoop, and UNI’s Matt Bohannon came up with it. Nevin Johnson wasn’t having any of it, and ripped the ball right out of Bohannon’s hands. In one fluid motion Johnson passed the ball back into the paint, where McDermott scored a bucket.
500(ish) Word Recap: The Jays trailed for most of the first 13 minutes on Tuesday night, as their defensive gameplan of making players not named Doug McDermott beat them was working. Austin Chatman hit a couple of threes early to keep them in the game, and Ethan Wragge and Avery Dingman hit one a piece to do the same. UNI held a lead of at least four points until the seven minute mark of the opening stanza, when Grant Gibbs made a pair of huge plays. First , he found Will Artino for a backdoor layup, then nailed a three from the corner to put Creighton up 23-22. They would not trail again.
Three minutes into the second half, UNI cut the lead to 45-41, thanks to five points from Seth Tuttle. That’s when Doug McDermott took the game over. Held to ten points in the first half, he’d score 21 over the final 17 minutes of the game, and was on pace to outscore the entire opposing team again before a late surge from the Panthers over the final 90 seconds.
In scoring 31 points, he moved into fifth place on CU’s all-time scoring list, passing the great Kyle Korver. He’s now just 303 points away from becoming the highest-scoring player in Creighton history, and with 13 games left before Arch Madness, that means he needs to average roughly 23 points a game to break it in the final home game of the year.
“It’s just a matter of, as all the guys off the bench have been saying all year, you never know when your number is going to get called. I didn’t play at all against Missouri State, and then Drake was a blowout so I played a lot, but I don’t ever know when I’ll be needed. When Greg got into foul trouble with two fouls, and Ethan had two fouls, I knew it was just me and Doug for those last eight minutes so I had to keep grinding it out and doing what I’m asked of. I played Seth Tuttle on scout team all week, and didn’t get any first/second team reps, so I didn’t know what was going to happen tonight.” -Will Artino on AM590 postgame
“They were isolating their bigs off of pick-and-rolls, and then they were getting deep seals early in the game. We just weren’t fighting, and as Coach Mac would say, our defense didn’t have any teeth at the beginning of the game. That’s what he was talking about (at the half), was us fighting back and throwing back punches and responding when we needed to respond.” -Will Artino on AM590 postgame
“It’s a tough spot for Will, no doubt about it. He’s matured a lot more since last year, and knows his role. The reality of it is, he could play and start for a lot of teams. To his credit, he’s put on his hard hat and gone to work every day in practice. We needed him to be Tuttle on the scout team this week because we didn’t have anybody like that, he hopped right in and took the opportunity, and provided that for our team. Him, Nevin, guys like that are playing spot minutes, I know it’s tough because I’ve been in that spot too, so you just have to tell them to keep their head down and keep working every day waiting for their opportunity. Will’s was tonight and he was big.” -Grant Gibbs on AM590 postgame
“They want to control the tempo and make it a slow-down game, so our emphasis was just take every opportunity to run. And it may not have looked like we got it going, but there was little breaks here and there where we played our game and got our shots, and that’s where we were able to push our lead out. I think, in watching our games from last year, we didn’t do a good enough job of running every single opportunity because there’s not many against (UNI). But if you continue to keep that pressure on them, we’ll have the opportunity to get the baskets we want.” -Grant Gibbs on AM590 postgame
“I didn’t like the way we started. They got us back on our heels, with Anthony James and the ball screens. But when you’re so worried about the threes, which we were after the Bradley game, you have to give them something. We weren’t going to give Marc Sonnen rhythm shots, and I thought our guys did a good job of keeping it out of his hands.” -Coach Greg McDermott on AM590 postgame
(On whether he thought Austin Chatman would be playing at this level so soon) “No. I don’t think anybody did. I thought there would be a learning curve. I was worried about our schedule, that I didn’t schedule enough easy games in the non-conference portion of the schedule to let him play through some mistakes. But there’s never really been one of those games where you scratch your head and say ‘Austin was awful tonight, he turned it over, he took bad shots, he wasn’t where he was supposed to be defensively.’ The young man has been consistent from Day One. And those two shots he hit in the first half totally changed the defensive gameplan for Northern Iowa. He hits a three on two different occasions and now they’re going, “Ah, we better play a little closer attention to him.’ and then that opens things up for Doug and others.” -Coach Greg McDermott on AM590 postgame
(On whether he ever had a dunk like Doug had at the end of the game) “I think it should be in the media code that you don’t ask a question you already know the answer to, just to try and embarrass a person. That would be a huge no (laughing).” -Coach Greg McDermott on AM590 postgame
And now, here’s what you had to say on Twitter:
— Patrick Marshall (@wildjays) January 16, 2013
— Creighton Pep Band (@CUPepBand) January 16, 2013
— BLUE J FAN (@BLUEJFAN) January 16, 2013
— Brad Schmidt (@BluejayBrad) January 16, 2013
@dougmcd3 I’m glad you play for us.
— Ryan Holmgren (@ryanholmgren) January 16, 2013
My goodness. @dougmcd3 threw down a ferocious 2-handed slam plus the foul. I don’t think he liked the way UNI was playing down the stretch.
— Creightonian Sports (@sports_cu) January 16, 2013
So are the blue and white overall people cheerleaders or fans or what? Do they have to buy a ticket? #Questions
— Carson Tigges (@CarsonTigges) January 16, 2013
— Jacob Padilla (@OmahaSun) January 16, 2013
If Will Artino’s going to turn into Pierce Hibma version 2.0 vs. Iowa teams, I’d be in favor. He’s played great tonight.
— Rob Anderson (@_robanderson) January 16, 2013
— CubbieKevin(@cubbiekevin) January 16, 2013
— Matthew DeMarinis (@mjdemarinis) January 16, 2013