Matthew Dellavedova had 19 points, six rebounds and five assists as Saint Mary’s held off Creighton 74-66, on Saturday in a BracketBusters game that was nationally-televised on ESPN. Saint Mary’s improved to 24-5 with the non-conference victory, while Creighton fell to 22-7 on the campaign.
Saint Mary’s scored the last eight points of the first half to open their largest margin to date at 38-24 at the break. The Gaels scored inside on a consistent basis, finishing the period with 18 points in the paint, while also doubling up the Jays on the glass 26-13. Doug McDermott had 13 points at the half for CU, but the Jays would shoot a season-low 29.6 percent in the period. SMC was led by 10 points from Dellavedova, had also dished a team-best four assists.
The Jays went inside with added frequency early in the second half, and Gregory Echenique stepped up. The 6-foot-9 center scored CU’s first seven points as the got within 43-31 after the first four minutes, and McDermott’s three-point play out of a media timeout got CU within nine.
The Gaels answered with a Dellavedova trey, a free throw by Jorden Page and a three-point play by Brad Waldow to quickly respond with a 7-0 run and push the lead back to 50-34. CU responded with a three-point play by Grant Gibbs and a trey by Ethan Wragge, and just like that the lead was back down to 10.
Creighton also got within 10 points with 5:00 left at 59-49, only to have Dellavedova drain a three-pointer to beat the shot clock and Jordan Giusti hit another runner as the shot clock expired to halt CU’s momentum.
CU got within eight twice in the final minute, but could not get over the hump, however, as Saint Mary’s inched closer to its sixth straight season of 25 wins or more.
McDermott scored 22 for Creighton, while Echenique (18) and Jahenns Manigat (11) also pitched in with double-figure scoring efforts for Creighton.
Creighton returns to action on Wednesday with its final MVC road game of the season at Bradley in a 7:05 pm start.