NEW YORK (AP) — Doug McDermott put on a dazzling shooting display in his Big East tournament debut, scoring a record 27 of his 35 points in the first half for No. 14 Creighton during an 84-62 victory over DePaul on Thursday night.
The nation’s leading scorer hit six of his first seven 3-point attempts, sending the second-seeded Bluejays (25-6) into the semifinals Friday night against third-seeded Xavier or No. 6 seed Marquette at Madison Square Garden.
Jahenns Manigat added 14 points for Creighton, which left the Missouri Valley Conference for the new-look Big East this season, and Austin Chatman had 11. Led by McDermott, the league’s player of the year and a heavy favorite for several national awards, the Bluejays shot a sizzling 14 for 22 from 3-point range (63.6 percent) against 10th-seeded DePaul (12-21).
Brandon Young had 22 points in his final college game for the Blue Demons, who finished in last place during the regular season before upsetting Georgetown 60-56 in the opening round Wednesday night.
McDermott shot 10 of 14 in the first half, including 7 for 9 from 3-point range. He finished 14 for 22 overall and 7 for 10 on 3s, easily surpassing his scoring average of 26.5 points, as Creighton went 32 for 53 (60.4 percent) from the floor and 14 for 22 on 3s (63.6 percent).
The two-time All-America set a Big East tournament record for points in a half but was one 3-pointer shy of the single-game mark set by Boston College guard Dana Barros in 1989.
When McDermott cooled off a bit in the second half, Chatman, Ethan Wragge and Avery Dingman helped the Bluejays pull away.
Creighton enjoyed boisterous support in the Big Apple — coach Greg McDermott, Doug’s father, said the school sold about 2,300 tickets for its first Big East tournament — and Bluejays fans who made the 1,240-mile trip from Omaha, Neb., were in for a treat.
McDermott, wearing his familiar No. 3, hit a bunch of them.
The senior forward wasted no time getting started, draining a 3 on the first shot of the game 13 seconds in. Manigat nailed three in a row from long range and McDermott followed with two more.
He spotted up on a fast break for another 3, then hit a long one from up top and sank his next one to give Creighton a 31-20 cushion with 6:48 left in the first half.
Manigat drained another 3, his fourth of the first half on five attempts, and McDermott had one more on a fast break before halftime. He also scored twice inside and after Dingman hit a twisting layup with 5.7 seconds left, the Bluejays went into the locker room with a 49-29 advantage.
DePaul got back in the game with a 10-0 run early in the second half, but Creighton caught a break when an errant pass caromed off the side of the backboard right to Chatman for a 3-pointer from the corner. McDermott hit a bank shot inside and it was 65-50 with 8:19 remaining.
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