Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Creighton's McDermott praises Hawks

The All-American spoke following an 83-79 win at Hagan Arena.

Creighton's McDermott praises Hawks

St Joe´s Halil Kanacevic goes up to block the shot of Creighton´s Doug McDermott in the first half. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)
St Joe's Halil Kanacevic goes up to block the shot of Creighton's Doug McDermott in the first half. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

Creighton’s Doug McDermott left Hagan Arena with a win and an awful lot of respect for St. Joseph’s.

A viable national player of the year candidate, the 6-foot-8 McDermott was bottled up for much of the night but still hit the eventual game winning shot in Saturday’s 83-79 victory over the Hawks.

He turned a 79-78 deficit into an 81-79 lead with a conventional three-point play with 4.9 seconds left. McDermott was fouled just inside the three-point line and hit the ensuing free throw to give the Bluejays the lead for good.

He had averaged 28.5 points in the first two games, but was ‘held’ to 20 on 7 for 14 shooting by a Hawks team that aggressively double-teamed McDermott.

More coverage
 
Buy local college sports tickets
 
Latest college sports videos

“I think St. Joe can play with any of Big East team,” McDermott said. “They are just as good.”

He was especially impressed with the frontcourt of Ronald Roberts Jr., Halil Kanacevic and DeAndre Bembry.

“Those big guys are really strong and they play well together and you have to give them a lot of credit,” McDermott said. “This was definitely a good test for us and gives us confidence going forward.”

The Bluejays are 3-0 and playing in the Big East, so they will return to the area on Jan. 20 when they face Villanova.

“St. Joe is so physical and defensive indeed and this is as tough a place to play as we have ever played,” McDermott said. “You have got to give the whole city credit, Philly, and we are going to see a lot more of it.”

Creighton competed last year in the Missouri Valley Conference, where Wichita State emerged as a Final Four team.

“Wichita State had a lot of big tough guys and that is what St. Joe reminds me of, they are so physical and defensive minded,” McDermott said.

Keep in mind that McDermott and Creighton were unbeaten when they came to Hagan Arena in December of 2010 and lost to the Hawks, 80-71 when McDermott was a sophomore. Last season at Creighton, the Bluejays won handily before being involved in this nail-biter.

While nothing will take away the disappointment of the loss, having such high praise from one of the country’s top players, is a credit to the Hawks.

Marc Narducci
About this blog
Marc Narducci has performed a variety of jobs at The Inquirer since beginning with the paper in 1983. A long-time high school sports reporter in South Jersey, Narducci has also served as a beat writer for the 76ers, a backup Eagles and Sixers writer and has covered all the professional and colleges in the Philadelphia area. Among his duties at The Inquirer over the years, Narducci has covered one Super Bowl, two World Series and three NBA all-star games. Most recently he has covered the Philadelphia Union soccer team and this season will be adding college basketball duties, paying specific attention to St. Joseph’s. A life-long Southern New Jersey resident, Narducci is a 1977 graduate of Paul VI High and 1981 graduate of Glassboro State College (now Rowan University). Email Marc at mnarducci@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

Marc Narducci
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected