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Creighton's Doug McDermott (#3) On Defense Against MSU's Gavin Thurman, Sets JQH Arena Record With 39 Points
Creighton's All American Doug McDermott set a JQH Arena record with 39 points as the Bluejays exploded in the second half to beat the MSU Bears 74-52 Friday night at JQH Arena.
The Bears stayed with the 13th ranked team in America in the first half, as the lead changed hands ten times with four ties.
After the Bluejays jumped out to a 7-2 lead, junior forward Keith Pickens got the crowd of 7,895 into the game with a slam dunk four minutes into the contest. Pickens was fouled on the play and converted his free throw to pull MSU within two, 7-5.
Pickens got a tip-in at the 13:46 mark to tie the score 7-7, and freshman Gavin Thurman gave MSU its first lead, 9-7, by hitting a shot with 12:44 left.
The momentum would go back and forth for much of the rest of the half, with sophomore Tomie Aromona giving the crowd a thrill by hitting a three pointer with 9:07 remaining. It gave the Bears a 16-14 advantage.
The teams traded buckets for the next six minutes, but a three pointer by freshman Nevin Johnson with 3:23 left in the first half gave the Bluejays a 26-25 lead. They'd never relinquish it, going into the locker room with a 32-27 lead and putting on a dominating 22-5 run that carried the Bluejays from late in the first half well into the second frame.
In the meantime, McDermott, a junior and preseason All-American pick, took control and put on one of the most dominating offensive performances ever against the Bears, with 11 first half and 28 second half points. He made 15 of 19 attempts from the field, and added ten rebounds for a double-double.
McDermott says it's one of the better games he's ever played. "I was just in a zone. Everything was going in, and my teammates just kind of saw that and kept giving me the ball. It's what it's like when you play with a bunch of unselfish guys and have it rolling."
McDermott's father, Head Coach Greg McDermott, says he was pretty impressed watching his son's performance. "Bradley (McDermott's career high 44 points last year) was an up and down game. Doug just scored 39 in a 56 possession game. That's the difference. His efficiency was off the charts. That's the fewest possessions we've played all year."
Pickens' 11 points were tops for MSU, with Anthony Downing and Gavin Thurman putting in ten points apiece for the Bears, who shot 37.9% from the field (22-58) but only 5-23 (21.7%) from the three point line.
Missouri State Head Coach Paul Lusk says after a good first half by his team, Creighton upped the intensity a notch. "They didn't guard a couple guys to start the second half, and it just kind of was a domino effect after that," Lusk said. "And then McDermott got going and that's why he's one of the best players in the country. That's why he's a future NBA player. He wore us out from every aspect, whether it was on the perimeter, down low, mid post, driving it. Give Creighton a lot of credit for the way they played in the second half. That's why they're one of the best teams in the country."
The Bears played the game without freshman point guard Marcus Marshall, who has been nursing a twisted ankle from Tuesday night's game against Illinois State. He then came down with the flu on Thursday.
Lusk says the absence of Marshall had an impact, especially with Downing. "Anthony played his tail off," Lusk said. But Anthony's not a point guard. We had to start him at point tonight and play him at point. When you put Anthony out there with Nate (guard Nathan Scheer) and Pick, you only literally have one guy that can handle out there on the entire floor, and that's a big problem for us not having Marcus in there."
Downing says Creighton's defense was tough to handle. "They started out in a triangle in two, so they were denying me the ball. From the beginning of the game they always did that, but when the second half came, they also took the ball away from Nate. They were basically trying not to let me catch the ball, just following me everywhere I went."
And what about the Bears' defense in the second half, when the game started to slip away early? Downing says it wasn't so much about what his team was doing wrong defensively, but what McDermott was doing right. "You just give credit to him. He was making fade-away three's on one foot and stuff like that. You can't do nothing about that. It's just God-given talent."
Creighton shot 57.4% (27-47) and went 9-17 (52.9%) from beyond the arc. The Bluejays were 11-13 from the free throw line, while the Bears made three of four attempts.
Missouri State drops to 5-12 with the loss, 3-2 in the Valley. The Bluejays, who are the highest ranked team to ever play the Bears in Springfield, improve to 16-1 and a perfect 5-0 in conference play.
The Bears hit the road for their next two games, playing at Indiana State Wednesday night at 6:05, and at Bradley next Saturday afternoon at 1:00.
The previous record for points in a game played at JQH Arena (which opened in 2008) was 32 by Norfolk State's Corey Lyons on December 20th, 2008.
McDermott, who was benched for the final four minutes of the contest, could have made a run on the all time single game scoring record against the Bears. Harold Robertson from Lincoln holds the mark with 45 points at McDonald Arena in Springfield on January 31, 1976.
Friday night's announced attendance of 7,895 is the 18th largest crowd at JQH Arena.
After going a combined 35-3 at "The Q" in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, the Bears are an even 12-12 on their homecourt over the last two seasons.
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