Doug McDermott wasn’t planning on going to Creighton to play basketball. He was committed to Northern Iowa, but when his dad, Greg, took the Bluejays job, the younger McDermott jumped at the opportunity to join him.
“It’s been a lot of fun playing for my dad,” McDermott said. “I don’t have any regrets about coming here and I’m not treated differently than the other players.”
McDermott has made an immediate impact. The former Ames High School star leads the team in scoring (14.8 points per game) and rebounding (8 rebounds per outing). The 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward has also drilled 31 shots from beyond the arc and has dished out 31 assists.
“I play hard on every possession,” McDermott said. “I do everything I can to help put us in a position to win. I owe my teammates a lot of credit for my success.”
McDermott played his high school basketball with North Carolina freshman sensation Harrison Barnes. In the final two seasons of their careers, they led Ames to 53 consecutive wins and back-to-back state championships.
“Playing against a guy like Harrison in practice made me a better player,” McDermott said. “I watched how hard he worked to be successful and it pushed me to be my best.”
In a Bracket Buster game on Saturday against Akron, McDermott scored 16 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. His effort came in a losing cause, however, as the Bluejays lost 77-67 to the Zips on the road.
There are still two games left on the schedule for the Bluejays, who are 17-12 overall and 9-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Creighton will go to Wichita State on Wednesday and host Northern Iowa on Saturday. McDermott scored 16 points the last time he played against UNI but the Bluejays lost the game 71-66.
“We want to finish the year strong,” McDermott said. “We have to play tough. I feel like we can play with anyone in our conference and hopefully we can make a run in the conference tournament.”
Need to Know
• Bellarmine was hoping to make history on Saturday afternoon as the only team to ever go unbeaten in Great Lakes Valley Conference play. Cardell McFarland made sure the Knights came up short in their quest for perfection, torching the second-ranked team in NCAA Division II for 47 points as Kentucky Wesleyan earned a 94-86 win at Knights Hall in Louisville.
McFarland scored the third most points in school history and the most by any player in a road game for the Panthers. The junior guard was 15-of-22 from the field and nailed seven of the nine treys he attempted. He was also 10-of-12 from the free-throw line as he guided KWC to its second consecutive win in five days against a top 10 opponent. The Panthers knocked off No. 6 Southern Indiana 84-77 on Valentine’s Day. McFarland scored 16 points in that win and is averaging 18 points per game on the season.
• School history was within reach for Whitworth on Saturday and the top-ranked Pirates seized the opportunity, setting a record for most regular-season wins (24) with an 84-45 road win against Pacific (Ore.) at the Stoller Center. Whitworth was coming off its first loss in 23 games but bounced back in a big way behind the 25-point performance of Michael Taylor.
Not only did the Pirates wrap up the regular season with a 24-1 record, but head coach Jim Hayford won the 250th game of his career in the victory against Pacific. He has been coaching for 12 seasons, including the last 10 at Whitworth.
• E’Twaun Moore was in a zone in the final four minutes of the opening half against Ohio State Sunday afternoon at Mackey Arena. The Purdue star scored 13 points during the stretch and became the fifth player in school history to score 2,000 career points. He finished the day with 38, including 21 from beyond the arc, and more importantly, the Boilermakers stunned Ohio State 76-63. The Buckeyes were ranked second in the AP poll and the Boilermakers were 11th.
The loss put a damper on the big day by OSU standout Jon Diebler, who became the Big Ten’s all-time 3-point leader, hitting two treys to raise his total to 332 and pass Jim Lisicky, who drilled 331 long-distance shots from 1994-98. Diebler scored 11 points in the loss, the second in the last three games for the Buckeyes.
• Arcadia University ended a 32-game Commonwealth Conference losing streak on Saturday, defeating Elizabethtown 85-84 at home. The streak dated back to January of 2009 but came to a halt as Damien Palantino knocked down seven treys and scored 27 points to lead the way.
• Nebraska stunned No. 3 Texas 70-67 on Saturday to win its first game against a top three team since the 1994 Big Eight Conference tournament. Brandon Richardson led the charge as he scored 15 points, including two free throws with 7.2 seconds remaining. Toney McCrary added 14 points.
• Sophomore Gabe Knutson scored on a putback with five seconds remaining as Lehigh knocked off Lafayette 68-67 in a thrilling Patriot League game on Sunday. Knutson finished with 12 points while Holden Greiner pumped in 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for his second career double-double.
• Ferris State star Justin Keenan tied Grand Valley State’s John Flynn as the all-time leader in points scored against Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference competition, leading the Bulldogs to an 84-66 win against No. 3 Findlay on Saturday. Keenan scored 19 and has 1,531 points in conference play.
• St. John’s (N.Y.) inched a step closer to its first NCAA tourney berth since 2002 as it upset fourth-ranked Pittsburgh 60-59 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Dwight Hardy made a basket with 1.2 seconds remaining to give the Red Storm its fifth win against a nationally ranked team, all of them coming at the Garden.
• Joey Rodriguez hit two free throws with less than a second remaining as Virginia Commonwealth tripped Wichita State 68-67. Rodriguez had 15 points and 11 assists, his second double-double of the year, as VCU stunned the top team in the Missouri Valley Conference.