Doug McDermott frequently starts hot for Creighton (22-4, 12-2), but Wednesday, in Milwaukee's Bradley Center, fellow seniors Jahenns Manigat and Ethan Wragge owned the hot hands in the opening minutes of the 85-70 win over Marquette (15-11, 7-6).
Manigat scored the elevnth-ranked Jays' first six points on a pair of makes from distance. McDermott made converted an easy look to give the Jays eight points before Wragge rattled off three consecutive makes from deep. After Wragge's third triple CU led 17-13 nearly six minutes into the contest, with the "Lumberjack" and "Canadian Red Bull" scoring all but two of those points.
When Austin Chatman was forced to the bench after picking up his second foul with 13:44 left in the first half, Devin Brooks entered the game and promptly made an impact. Brooks scored on his first two offensive possessions of the game and ended the first half with eight points. After their early assault, Wragge and Manigat each made another three before the half, giving them 12 and nine points, respectively.
Creighton led 42-35 at the break, but it could have been closer as Marquette made just 10 of their 17 free throw attempts in the first 20 minutes. Derrick Wilson and Jake Thomas scored seven points apiece to lead the Eagles.
The second half belonged to Doug McDermott. The leading Player of the Year candidate ended the first half with eight points but quickly added to that, scoring the first nine Bluejay points of the second half. When the spree of buckets ended, CU led 51-41 with 14 minutes to play.
Buzz Williams squad would not allow the Bluejays to run away. The Eagles attacked inside and used layups, tip-ins and free throws to cut the CU lead to five at 64-59 after a Todd Mayo free throw. The Eagles defended well for 30 seconds on the Jays' ensuing possession, but with the shot clock winding down, McDermott connected on a triple from NBA range that put up eight.
Wragge hit two more from deep and Chatman added a timely make from distance as CU broke the game open late. McDermott finished with 25 points on 9 of 12 shooting and Wragge added 22 on 6 of 8 from three and 4 of 4 from the line. Todd Mayo led the Eagles with 13 points, while freshman Deonte Burton added 11.
The Bluejays will hope to get similar production from their seniors on Sunday, when the Bluejays defend first place in the BIG EAST at home against Seton Hall. The Bluejays previously beat the Pirates 79-66 in New Jersey.
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