Creighton never trailed in a 67-49 win in its BIG EAST debut over preseason league favorite Marquette. Creighton’s win wrapped up a five-game homestand in which the Bluejays never trailed and improved the club to 11-2 on the season.
Marquette fell to 8-6 on the year and 0-1 in league play.
A rowdy New Year’s Eve crowd of 18,525 was on hand, the third-largest turnout in school history.
Creighton seniors Doug McDermott (19), Jahenns Manigat (16) and Ethan Wragge (12) scored in double-figures to pace the hosts. MU was led by 10 each from Jamil Wilson and Chirs Otule.
McDermott had 10 early points as Creighton raced to a 15-6 lead in the opening minutes. Marquette closed within 26-20 after consecutive scores by Wilson, but the lead would double after treys by Austin Chatman and Manigat on CU’s next two possessions.
Creighton took a 37-24 lead into the half after Manigat closed the half with a personal 5-0 run that included his first collegiate dunk and another trey. He was tied with McDermott at the break with 10 points as Creighton launched 25-of-34 first half attempts from downtown.
Marquette outscored Creighton 6-3 in the first four minutes of the second half while also sending Chatman to the bench after he picked up his second and third fouls in quick succession. Devin Brooks came to the rescue, leading a bench brigade that also featured Will Artino and Avery Dingman as CU extended the lead and put away the defending BIG EAST tri-champions.
Brooks knifed his way through the defense for three scores in a personal 6-0 run, then fed Manigat for a three-ball and all of the sudden it was 49-30. Marquette would call a timeout, during which the electric crowd broke into a stirring rendition of “Sweet Caroline”, continuing to sing even after play resumed. The singing seemed to inspire the Golden Eagles, who quickly answered with a 9-0 run on five points from Jake Thomas and four more by Jajuan Johnson.
Creighton regained momentum with three-pointers by Manigat and Wragge, and the 16-point lead with 7:42 to play proved insurmountable. CU would lead by 20 points on three occasions, including 63-43, 655-45 and 67-47 before the buzzer sounded with a 67-49 score.
Creighton outrebounded MU 38-36 and wound up making 13 three-pointers on a record-tying 35 three-point tries. CU was also perfect in four free throw attempts.
Marquette shot 35.8 percent for the night, including just 2-for-12, and didn’t help itself with 15 turnovers that CU converted into 20 points.
Creighton returns to action on Saturday with a 2 pm Central game at Seton Hall.