Junior Doug McDermott had 31 points to help the Creighton men's basketball team become the nation's first squad to 17 wins this year after a 79-68 win over Northern Iowa on Tuesday night.
Ranked 10th by the coaches and 12th by the Associated Press, Creighton (17-1, 6-0 MVC) has now won 11 straight games, matching its longest streak under Greg McDermott, and the third-longest active streak nationally. This is Creighton's first 17-1 start in program history, and it is the first MVC team to do so since Drake in 2007-08.
UNI fell to 9-9 (2-4 MVC) with the setback, alternating wins and losses for the fifth consecutive contest.
Creighton scored on its first two trips to build a 4-0 lead, only to see UNI answer with the next nine points to take a five-point lead at the first media timeout. Jake Koch scored five of those points for the Panthers.
The Panthers led by as much as seven (14-7) in the first half before CU slowly responded. Two three-pointers by Austin Chatman and another by Ethan Wragge made it 16-13, and the Jays would knot the score at 18-all on a knifing lay-up by Jahenns Manigat. CU took its first lead since 4-2 on a Grant Gibbs three-pointer that was part of a 9-0 run that also included four points from Will Artino.
Creighton's lead reached as large as seven on three occasions in the first half before Anthony James capped a big half (15 points) with a jumper to beat the halftime buzzer with CU up 37-32. Creighton was paced by 10 points from McDermott in the first half, while James led all players with 15 on 7-of-13 shooting. CU made 15-of-28 shots from the floor and 6-of-8 three-pointers in the opening stanza.
UNI got as close as 39-36 early in the second half, but the Jays answered with a 12-5 run to go up by double-digits for the first time as McDermott completed it a personal 6-0 run. The Panthers would get no closer than seven the rest of the night. CU's biggest lead on the evening was 16, done three different times.
In addition to McDermott's 31 points, he also had four rebounds and three assists. Chatman finished with 12 points and four assists, while Gibbs had an impressive all-around evening with 11 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Creighton shot 55.4 percent from the field (31-56), and made half of its 12 three-point attempts. The Jays were also 11-for-14 at the line (78.6 percent), dished 21 assists, and outrebounded UNI 31-27.
UNI was paced by 25 points from James, who also added six rebounds. Jake Koch had 19 points in what his coach later called the best all-around performance of his career. Both point totals were season-highs.
Creighton returns to action on Saturday with a 3 pm game at Wichita State (15-2, 4-1 MVC).
NOTES: Doug McDermott has made a three-pointer in an MVC-best 16 straight games ...Creighton moved over 200,000 home fans on the season for the seventh time at 202,303. No other MVC team has done it even once ...The crowd of 17,391 was the fourth straight sellout and 13th-largest in school history ..Doug McDermott (1,814 points) passed UNI's Ben Jacobson (1,787), Drake's Josh Young (1,789) and Creighton's Kyle Korver (1,801) to move into 27th all-time on the MVC scoring list. By passing Korver, McDermott moved into fifth in Creighton history in scoring as well ...Creighton has won its sixth MVC game in 18 of the last 19 seasons ...Creighton has started 6-0 in MVC play for just the second time since rejoining the MVC in 1977-78 (7-0 in 2002-03) ...Creighton has made 50 percent of its three-pointers or better in six straight games for the first time ever.