OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Doug McDermott scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half and No. 23 Creighton defeated a Big Ten opponent for the third time this season with an 87-79 victory over Northwestern on Thursday night.
McDermott’s performance trumped that of Northwestern’s Drew Crawford, who scored 34 points to tie an opponent record at the CenturyLink Center.
Jahenns Manigat rattled in a 3-pointer from the corner to break a 58-all tie. JerShon Cobb committed a turnover on the other end then fouled Ethan Wragge as he made a 3. Wragge converted the four-point play for a 65-58 lead.
Antoine Young scored 13 points, Gregory Echenique and Manigat had 11 apiece, and Wragge added 10 for Missouri Valley Conference favorite Creighton (10-1), which also has wins over the Big Ten’s Iowa and Nebraska.
John Shurna had 18 points and Davide Curletti added 10 for Northwestern (10-2).
McDermott, who was on the bench in foul trouble most of the first half, scored 11 points during a 16-5 run that put the Bluejays ahead 55-47 with 9 minutes to play.
Most of the Bluejays’ spurt came with Crawford on the bench after he committed his fourth foul with 14:35 left. He returned 6 minutes later and scored five quick points to get the Wildcats back within 58-56, and Cobb’s free throws tied it 58-all.
Manigat’s 3-pointer, which bounced off the rim and backboard before dropping through, gave Creighton the lead for good. Josh Jones’ 3 gave the Bluejays their biggest lead, 75-68, with 4:35 left.
McDermott, coming off a career-high 35 points against Tulsa on Monday, is the first Creighton player in more than 30 years to score 20 or more points in 10 straight games. According to STATS LLC, he’s the nation’s only player with four straight games of 24 points or more.
Creighton avenged a 65-52 loss at Northwestern last season.
The Bluejays have scored 70 or more points in all 11 games, their longest such streak since the 1970-71 team opened with 17 straight games with 70 or more.
With Crawford leading the way, Northwestern shot 70 percent (16 of 23) over the first 15 minutes of the game and used an 8-0 run to go up 33-25.
The Bluejays battled back and led 37-36, holding the Wildcats scoreless on seven straight possessions and ending the half on a 12-3 run. Young started Creighton’s rally with a pull-up jumper and 3-pointer, and Wragge followed with back-to-back 3s.
Conspicuously absent was McDermott, who picked up two quick fouls and was on the bench for the last 12:18 of the half.
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