Creighton wins 67-49 in inaugural Big East game

OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton celebrated its entry into the Big East Conference on New Year's Eve, and Marquette never got a chance to spoil the party.

Doug McDermott scored a hard-earned 19 points, Jahenns Manigat had a season-high 16, and Creighton posted a 67-49 victory on Tuesday night in the Bluejays' first-ever Big East game.

Ethan Wragge added 12 points on four 3-pointers for Creighton (11-2), which has won six games in a row.

"We fed off the energy of the crowd a little bit," Manigat said. "When you've got 18,000 in the stands, you hope they make a little bit of noise for you and feed you that kind of energy. We just wanted to reciprocate it and fight as hard as we could on the defensive end, finish with our rebound and try to attack as quickly as we could offensively."

The Bluejays learned quickly that Big East opponents will make it hard for their free-flowing offense to run smoothly all the time.

Creighton shot 40 percent and Marquette 36 percent. The Bluejays, whose offense is predicated on the 3-point shot, made 13 of 35 from long range. Marquette was just 2 of 12 beyond the arc.

The teams combined for 28 turnovers.

"That's the kind of basketball Marquette plays, and they're used to winning those games," McDermott said. "I don't think a lot of people think we're the type of team that wins those types of games. It showed a lot, that we can battle these teams -- these strong, athletic, physical teams. It might be more of a grind out there."

Jamil Wilson and Chris Otule scored 10 points apiece for Marquette (8-6), the defending Big East co-champion and preseason favorite. The Golden Eagles' six losses have come to teams with a 64-8 combined record.

Manigat had a season-high six assists and six rebounds, but it was his timely scoring that allowed Creighton to turn back Marquette when the Eagles looked as if they would threaten.

The CenturyLink Center crowd of 18,525 showed up ready to celebrate the Bluejays' inaugural Big East game. The towel-waving fans roared after Creighton's early baskets and loudly chanted "de-fense" on Marquette's first couple of possessions.

The Bluejays swept the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles last season and, along with Xavier and Butler, joined the reconstituted Big East last March.

The game matched teams that had a long history of playing from the 1920s to 1980s. This was their 77th meeting, but before Tuesday they hadn't met since the 1998 NIT.

The Bluejays wore their alternate gray uniforms for the second time this season. Marquette coach Buzz Williams even got caught up in the occasion, donning a bow tie.

"I thought it was an unbelievable atmosphere," Williams said. "It'll be incredibly hard for teams to win here."

For the fifth-straight home game, Creighton never trailed. Marquette got no closer than nine points in the second half.

McDermott scored 10 of Creighton's 15 points in the first seven minutes, but he became frustrated as Wilson turned up the defensive pressure. As Wilson bodied him in the post, McDermott glared at officials. He missed a layup and committed three turnovers while going scoreless the rest of the half. As he walked to the locker room, he turned to an official out of earshot, mouthed an expletive and said, "Come on, man."

"Doug gets that look on his face every once in a while," said Creighton coach Greg McDermott, Doug's dad. "I've seen it for 21 years, so I'm used to it."

Doug McDermott said Marquette was as physical as the Cincinnati and Duke teams the Bluejays played in last season's NCAA tournament.

"They made things hard," he said. "I got off to a good start. After that they did a much better job switching screens and being really physical. That allowed a lot of these other guys to get going, because they were bringing so many guys at me."

Even with McDermott struggling, the Bluejays led 37-24 at the break thanks largely to Manigat. After Marquette had cut a 12-point deficit to six, Austin Chatman and Manigat hit back-to-back 3s to restore the double-digit lead. Manigat later riled the crowd with a steal and dunk, and he made another 3-pointer to give the Bluejays their largest lead of the half.

"We really fed off that crowd. That's what we need for every game," Doug McDermott said. "Now we only have eight games left here together. It would be awesome to have atmospheres like that the rest of the way. It makes a huge difference for us, so I want to thank all those 18,525 who came out."