McDermotts share final moment in loss

SAN ANTONIO -- As Doug McDermott walked to the Creighton bench for the final time, he reached out his hand to his father.

Greg McDermott took his son’s hand, then pulled him in for the last hug the two would share as player and coach.

Sunday at the AT&T Center, sixth-seeded Baylor bounced the third-seeded Bluejays 85-55 to advance to the Sweet 16 of the West Region.

The Bears also put an end to one of the finest careers ever to grace the college basketball hardwood.

“Walking off that floor was a tough moment, but at the same time, it was one of the best moments,” Doug McDermott said. “[My dad and I] have had so many special memories together.

“Everything has to come to an end eventually.”

Creighton’s run in the NCAA tournament came to one emphatic end against the Bears, who led the final 39 minutes of the game after McDermott scored his first point to give the Bluejays an early 3-2 lead.

The nation’s leading scorer and likely player of the year in college basketball finished with 15 points on 50 percent shooting. But in the first half, he scored only three points on four shots and had no rebounds, allowing the Bears to build a comfortable 20-point halftime lead.

“We thought we could maybe get a few easier looks from the perimeter to start the game. When we've done that, gotten off to good starts shooting 3s, it's always been a good game,” McDermott said.

“But they made it tough. They forced us to get it in the middle of that zone, and it's hard to score over those guys. They're so long and athletic where they challenge every shot in there. So to their credit, they took away what we do best and kind of controlled the tempo of the game and made it hard on us.”

While McDermott struggled to get his shot off against Baylor’s rangy zone defense on one end of the court, he got into foul trouble on the other. And after scoring 30 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in Creighton’s tournament opener, he finished with just two rebounds and four fouls against the Bears.

“You know, it’s something you can’t really practice until you see it for the first time,” McDermott said of Baylor’s front line, which includes three players 6-foot-8 or taller. “Those guys are really long. We were a little frustrated early and kind of carried that over the whole game.”

The McDermotts, however, didn’t carry that frustration past the game. And afterward, the two turned their focus to their time together on the same team.

“Part of the problem is that I had too much darn time to think about it because we were getting our tails kicked so bad,” Greg McDermott said of coaching his son for the final time. “But it’s been an incredible journey, and I really wish every parent could experience what I’ve had the opportunity to experience. I’ve had a front-row seat to history, and it was my son that was doing it.”

Doug McDermott finished his career ranked fifth in NCAA history with 3,150 points while breaking numerous school records. He also led the Bluejays to NCAA tournament second-round wins his past three seasons.

“I have just so many memories,” he said. “It's not everything on the floor. We've built so many relationships off the floor, basically all family. We have so much fun traveling, in the hotels, on the planes, on the buses. Just so many memories that we'll never forget. Playing for my dad, it doesn't get much better than that. You know, I'm just so blessed to be here. So glad I came back another year for college basketball. I just think it's the best experience of my life, and I hope more kids do what I did.”

McDermott came back for a fourth year in part to win a national championship with his dad. He didn’t get that special moment. But as he walked off the floor for the final time, he still got a moment to treasure with his coach.

“We've had so many special memories together,” he said. “We never would have guessed we'd be in this position we're at today, so we just kind of had to cherish that moment. I wasn't even thinking about the game at that point. I was just thinking … this would be the last time I'll be able to walk off the floor and give my dad a hug.”