DePaul bounced from Big East tourney by Creighton

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NEW YORK (AP) - Any hopes DePaul had of pulling off another upset at the Big East tournament ended when Doug McDermott got rolling right away.

The nation’s leading scorer put on a dazzling shooting display in his Big East tournament debut Thursday night, scoring a record 27 of his 35 points in the first half for No. 14 Creighton during an 84-62 victory over the Blue Demons.

“They’ve got a really, really good team. I think they’ve got a chance to obviously do well in this tournament and really represent our league well in the NCAA tournament,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. “I think McDermott, once again, proves that - in my opinion - he’s the best player in the country.”

The two-time All-America hit six of his first seven 3-point attempts, sending the second-seeded Bluejays (25-6) into the semifinals Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

Brandon Young had 22 points and eight rebounds in his final game for the last-place Blue Demons, who surprised seventh-seeded Georgetown 60-56 in the opening round Wednesday night. Jamee Crockett came off the bench and scored 13.

“I didn’t think our energy level was as high as it was when we started the game yesterday. I guess that’s understandable playing a late game last night,” Purnell said. “We finally got our legs under us in the second half.”

Jahenns Manigat scored 14 for Creighton, which left the Missouri Valley Conference for the new-look Big East this season, and Austin Chatman had 11 points and nine assists.

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).

McDermott was 10 of 14 in the first half, including 7 for 9 from 3-point range. He finished 14 of 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.

The senior forward broke Big East tournament records for points in a half and points by a player in his debut at this event. He ended up one 3-pointer shy of the single-game mark set by Boston College guard Dana Barros in 1989.

No wonder he appears on the front of this week’s Sports Illustrated in a recreation of a 1970s cover photo that featured Larry Bird.

“There’s only going to be one Larry Bird,” McDermott said. “I try and watch a lot of film on him.”

When McDermott cooled off a bit in the second half, Chatman, Ethan Wragge and Avery Dingman helped the Bluejays pull away as chants of “C-U! C-U!” rang out in the Garden.

Creighton enjoyed boisterous support in the Big Apple - coach Greg McDermott, Doug’s father, said the school sold about 2,300 tournament tickets - 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.

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