- Associated Press - Saturday, January 25, 2014

OMAHA, Neb.— The shots didn’t drop for Creighton early against Georgetown like they did against Villanova five nights earlier. It didn’t matter.

Even with Doug McDermott struggling and Ethan Wragge in foul trouble, the Bluejays still were good enough to rattle off another double-digit victory Saturday night, this time 76-63 in front of a school-record crowd of 18,859 for the annual Pink-Out Game at CenturyLink Center.

McDermott and Will Artino scored 14 points apiece to lead five Creighton players in double figures, and the Bluejays stayed alone in first place in the Big East.

The Bluejays (17-3, 7-1) missed 12 of their first 15 shots, but it didn’t hurt them because the Hoyas were off on 11 of their first 13. The opening minutes were in contrast to Monday, when Creighton set the college basketball world abuzz by making its first nine 3-pointers and finishing with a Big East-record with 21 in a 28-point win at fourth-ranked Villanova.

“You dream for starts like that every time you step on the floor,” McDermott said. “It’s not always going to be that good. I thought we did a great job just settling down, getting better looks, and I thought especially in the second half we did a great job of distributing the basketball.”

Wragge scored all 12 of his points in the first half. He went to the bench for 8 ½ minutes in the second half after committing his third foul. That allowed Artino, Wragge’s backup, to make his biggest contributions of the season.

Markel Starks had 21 points for the Hoyas (11-8, 3-5), who have lost four straight and five of their last six. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera had 18 points and Mikael Hopkins 14 for Georgetown.

Creighton has won 11 of its last 12 and extended its home win streak to 13 games.

“Wins aren’t easy to come by in conference play, so to say we’re 7-1, we would have taken that at the start of the year,” McDermott said.

Creighton led by 10 points at halftime, and Georgetown had an opportunity to come back with McDermott having an off shooting night and Wragge going to the bench with three fouls early in the second half.

The Bluejays got a couple big plays from Artino after the Hoyas cut it to 42-36. Artino cut through the lane for a dunk put-back of Austin Chatman’s missed layup, and after a Georgetown turnover, he scored to make it a 10-point game again.

Artino matched his career high for points and minutes (20), making 6 of 8 shots and grabbing five rebounds.

Ethan had foul trouble, and he had to come in and he did a great job on both ends of the floor, bringing energy and he was finishing everything around the rim tonight,” McDermott said. “It was great to see Big Will step up.”

McDermott and Manigat finished a 10-0 run that gave Creighton a 58-40 lead. McDermott missed a 3-pointer, ran down the long rebound in the corner and on the same possession put back his own missed layup. Manigat followed a Georgetown turnover with a long 3-pointer.

McDermott was just 5 of 15 from the field but did lead the Bluejays with 10 rebounds.

“Once every 10 games he has a bad day,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “For him, a bad day is a very good day for most people.”

Austin Chatman tipped in his own miss to start an 11-0 run that put Creighton ahead 24-15, and the Bluejays made 7 of their last 10 shots of the half to lead 34-24.

The Hoyas played their fifth straight game without starting guard Jabril Trawick, who broke his jaw Jan. 8. The Hoyas also were without 6-foot-11, 350-pound center Joshua Smith, who on Friday was declared academically ineligible for the rest of the season.

“We’re in a bad place, OK. We have to figure out how to get out of this bad place,” Thompson said. “We’re not at the halfway point of the conference season yet. We’re eight games in to an 18-game season. So there’s time. But we have to figure out adjustments, changes — some big, some small — on how this group is going to win.”

Creighton wore special pink-and-white jerseys and pink shoes as part of Creighton vs. Cancer weekend. The jerseys brought in about $48,000 in an auction, more than the previous two years combined. McDermott’s No. 3 jersey fetched the most, $11,603. The first 16,000 fans through the doors received a pink T-shirt.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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