McDermott powers No. 16 Creighton

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 10, 2012
The build-up for Creighton's opener against North Texas was all about the matchup between Bluejays returning All-American Doug McDermott and projected NBA lottery pick Tony Mitchell. Call McDermott-Mitchell a draw. As for the game, the 16th-ranked Bluejays led big early and won 71-51 Friday night. Afterward, Creighton coach Greg McDermott was glad it was over. "I don't know if I've been as nervous for an opening game as I have been for this one in the 24 years I've been doing this," the coach said. There was a big-game atmosphere, with the usual crowd of 17,000 showing up at CenturyLink Center for the meeting of the Missouri Valley Conference favorite Bluejays against the team picked to win the Sun Belt. Doug McDermott and Mitchell played together on the U19 Team USA squad two summers ago, and they are two of the nation's biggest stars. About a dozen NBA scouts were on hand to watch. McDermott, the nation's top returning scorer, had 21 points and 11 rebounds. Mitchell, who averaged a double-double last season, finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. "It wasn't a one-on-one matchup," Mitchell said. "This was Creighton against North Texas. I wasn't looking at it like that. I just wanted to win the game, and we didn't do that tonight." Creighton led 39-25 at half and opened the second half on a 14-5 run, with Avery Dingman making back-to-back 3-pointers to stretch it to 53-30. Greg McDermott said he was concerned because even though he knew North Texas returned all five starters and its top seven scorers from an 18-14 team, he didn't know what to expect with Tony Benford having taken over as the Mean Green's new coach. "I'm glad to get this one past us, because I don't mind playing good teams as long as I know something about the good teams," he said. "In this situation, we just didn't know much about North Texas outside of their personnel with the new coaching staff. It's good to get this one in the 'W' column and move on." Austin Chatman added 11 points and reserve Avery Dingman had 10 for the Bluejays, who have won 39 straight November regular-season home games. The Bluejays had a good plan defensively. They rotated three players on Mitchell, with Gregory Echenique the primary man assigned to him, and routinely brought in another player to trap him. Creighton also denied passes into the lane, forcing the Mean Green out of its comfort zone. North Texas made just 2-of-16 shots from 3-point range. Greg McDermott prodded his team to improve its defense after it ranked 222nd nationally in field-goal defense last season. The Mean Green shot 32 percent. "Everybody has been talking about their defense," Benford said. "They did a great job on us inside, really packing it in and making it difficult for us to get in the paint." Doug McDermott, the 6-foot-8 junior, scored in double figures for a 37th consecutive game. He fought through double-teams to go 6 of 11 from the field, and he made all eight of his free throws. While McDermott was his steady self, there was an air of anticipation every time Mitchell touched the ball. His first points came after he stepped in front of an Austin Chatman pass meant for Echenique and took it in for a rim-rattling dunk. He hit the Mean Green's only 3-pointer of the first half, batted away Andre Yates' shot in the lane for the first of his two blocks, then went down to the other end and scored on a dunk putback. Mitchell picked up his fourth foul with 13 minutes left. By then, Creighton led by 21 points and it didn't matter that he sat out the next five minutes. Advertised as the greatest athlete to come out of North Texas since "Mean" Joe Green of 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers fame, Mitchell was one of two freshmen to average a double-double last season. The other was National Player of the Year Anthony Davis of Kentucky. Mitchell was 8 of 15 from the field, including 2-of-5 on 3s. He never got to the free-throw line. "We made him work for all those points," Doug McDermott said. "He got off to a good start and was real confident. I thought Gregory did a really good job on him the second half. He kind of got him frustrated."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rondo rules himself out for Game 5, unsure about Game 6

Report: Vikings unlikely to pick up Bridgewater’s fifth-year option

Jets reportedly willing to trade No. 6 pick to Browns

Report: Lynch agrees to deal with Raiders, will be traded

WATCH: Jose Altuve leaves game after scary outfield collision

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Allen Iverson has savage response to Tim Hardaway’s crossover claim

Fred Hoiberg: Rajon Rondo ‘longshot’ to return during Celtics series

Pat Riley: LeBron James’ departure from Miami ‘was personal’

Marcus Smart fires back at Jimmy Butler over ‘not about that life’ talk

Tony Gonzalez: Tony Romo did not cost me CBS job

Martavis Bryant conditionally reinstated by NFL

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The West is full of surprises

Box Score 4/26: NFL Draft eve

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Paul Millsap needs a twin phone

Perfect matches: Handpicking players for certain teams in the 2017 NFL Draft

NFL Draft do-overs we'd most like to see

NFL Draft X-factor players you may have missed during their college careers

Box Score 4/25: 'So long, sleeves'

NBA Weekend Awards: Who takes home the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy?

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Stanley Cup Playoffs: The West is full of surprises

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Paul Millsap needs a twin phone

Perfect matches: Handpicking players for certain teams in the 2017 NFL Draft

NFL Draft do-overs we'd most like to see

NFL Draft X-factor players you may have missed during their college careers

Most inspirational sports movies, series and docs available for streaming

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker