NEW YORK — Appearing in their first game in the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden, the Creighton Bluejays looked quite comfortable in their 84-62 win over the DePaul Blue Demons in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
No. 4 Creighton (25-6), the second seed, received 35 points from forward Doug McDermott, the Big East’s Player of the Year, marking the 25th time McDermott has scored at least 30 points this season.
Creighton plays the winner of Xavier and Marquette in the semifinals on Friday
DePaul (12-21) now has 50 straight losses to ranked opponents.
The Blue Demons, who advanced to the second round of the tournament for only the second time since joining the conference, were led by guard Brandon Young, who scored 22 points. Young passed Doug Corzine for third place on the school’s scoring list with 1,899 points.
Creighton leads the nation in 3-point percentage (42.0) and averages 10.3 a game. The Bluejays enjoyed one of their better shooting performances, going 32 for 53 (60.4 percent) and were 14 of 22 beyond the arc.
The responsibility of shooting the long ball usually falls to Creighton forward Ethan Wragge, but against DePaul, McDermott took over that aspect of the Bluejays offense, sinking a personal season’s best seven 3’s.
DePaul got as close as 10 points at 60-50 after a layup from guard Billy Garrett Jr. with 9:30 left to play, but Creighton extended its lead to 20 points at 72-52 by going on a 12-2 run with 5:50 remaining.
McDermott put on a long-range jump shooting exhibition in the first half. Scoring from all areas beyond the perimeter, he poured in 27 first-half points to lead Creighton to a 49-29 lead.
He was inexplicably left open on the outside in the first half and he took advantage, drilling seven of his nine 3-point attempts. The Bluejays were 10-for-16 from 3-point range.
Creighton came out and accomplished what it is known for — draining 3-pointers. The Bluejays sank six of their first nine treys and took a 20-8 lead. McDermott scored 11 of those points, and guard Jahenns Manigat contributed nine.
NOTES: Creighton F Doug McDermott was selected the Big East’s Player of the Week eight times this season — the most for a player in the history of the conference. … McDermott is looking to become the first player in Big East Conference history to lead the nation in scoring. He was averaging 26.5 points per game before Thursday. … Bluejays F Ethan Wragge took the highest percentage (98 percent) of 3-point shots in the country this season. Out of his 98 made field goals this season, 96 came from 3-point range. … DePaul used 12 starting lineups in 18 Big East Conference games this season.
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