Creighton leads from start to finish
OMAHA, Neb. -- Avery Dingman had a career-high 21 points and Gregory Echenique had 15 points and eight rebounds as Creighton won its final game before MVC play with a 71-54 win vs. Tulsa on Wednesday night.
Ranked 13th by the USA Today coaches and 17th by the Associated Press, Creighton set a record for wins before Christmas by improving to 11-1. Tulsa lost its second straight to open a four-game road trip to fall to 6-5.
Both teams came out sluggish in the opening minutes, combining for nine turnovers by the first media timeout. But Creighton began hitting shots and left the Golden Hurricane in the dust, using a 16-1 run to turn the lead into 24-8 with five minutes left in the first half. The Jays led by as much as 20 in the opening period before settling for a 38-20 halftime lead. Echenique led the Jays with 12 points and eight rebounds in the opening half, while Grant Gibbs dished five assists.
The Golden Hurricane used an 8-1 out of the intermission break to draw within 11 at 39-28, only to see the Jays answer with a 9-0 surge that included Doug McDermott's corner trey that also moved him into a tie for 50th in MVC history with 1,651 career points and returned CU's lead to 20.
The Golden Hurricane never got within single-digits again.
Dingman made 8-of-9 shots to post his 21 points, seven more than his previous high. He was 5-of-6 from three-point range and also added a career-best three steals in 23 minutes. McDermott had 16 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Echenique tallied 15 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and a pair of steals despite second half foul trouble. The Jays shot 51.9 percent from the field and 45 percent in 20 three-point attempts while making 8-of-14 free throws. The Jays also picked up a season-high 17 steals, one shy of the school record.
Tulsa was led by 15 points, 10 rebounds and four steals by freshman James Woodard. The Golden Hurricane shot 37.5 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Jays 35-28, but also turned the ball over 25 times.
Creighton takes a rare 10-day break before opening up Missouri Valley Conference play on Dec. 29th with a 7:05 pm home game vs. Evansville.
NOTES: Creighton has started 11-1 or better for the sixth time in program history, and first time since 2003-04 ...Greg McDermott improved to 6-0 in his career against Conference USA schools, including a 2-0 mark vs. Tulsa ... Doug McDermott had 16 points to move from 10th to ninth on Creighton's all-time scoring list with 1,659 career points, passing Vernon Moore (1,654) and two shy of Paul Silas for eighth place ...Doug McDermott moved from 51st to 48th on the MVC's all-time scoring list, passing Melvin Mathis (1,651), Vernon Moore (1,654) and Red Murrell (1,657) ... Doug McDermott had led Creighton in scoring in each of the last nine games before Avery Dingman had a team-high 21 tonight.
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