No. 16 Creighton men’s basketball led for all but eight seconds while posting a decisive 71-51 win over North Texas in the nation’s only opening day match-up of two conference favorites.
North Texas took its only lead at 13-11 with 11:28 in the first half after NT’s Tony Mitchell closed a personal 7-2 run to give the Mean Green a 13-11 lead. The Jays would answer with Austin Chatman’s bank shot from the elbow, then follow with back-to-back scores inside and never looked back.
Creighton led 39-25 at the half after replays removed a Grant Gibbs buzzer-beater that was initially called good.
Creighton continued the onslaught in the second half, as Avery Dingman nailed back-to-back three-pointers to make it 53-30 and end any drama. The Mean Green got no closer than 19 the rest of the night.
First Team All-American Doug McDermott had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead Creighton, while Texas native Austin Chatman had 11 points in his first career start. Dingman made his first four shots and finished with 10 points in 11 minutes. Creighton, held an NT offense that averaged 70.3 points per game last year to just 51 points and limited the Mean Green to 31.9 percent field goal shooting.
North Texas was paced by preseason All-American Tony Mitchell, who led the team with 18 points and seven rebounds but was plagued with second half foul trouble. The game was head coach Tony Benford’s first as a head coach at the college level after replacing LSU-bound Johnny Jones in April.
Creighton returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts UAB in a 7:05 pm game at CenturyLink Center Omaha.