The way Creighton started Sunday's game against Nebraska had Husker coach Tim Miles conjuring up memories of different games in different places.
The Bluejays blew out to a 30-point lead 13 minutes into their 82-67 mauling of Nebraska in front of a sellout crowd of 17,530 at CenturyLink Center. At that point, Miles' team was on pace to score 25 points while giving up 117.
“My son is 9 years old and I see a few games like that on occasion,” Miles said. “But you don't expect to see them in college basketball.”
Creighton coach Greg McDermott certainly didn't expect it against a Nebraska team he calls much improved.
“We couldn't play much better than we played to start the game,” he said. “In my wildest dreams, I didn't envision a start like that.”
In winning its third straight game in the series and 12th of 16, Creighton:
» Scored the first eight points, with Doug McDermott and Ethan Wragge each burying 3-pointers that had Miles calling time out with 17:37 left in the half.
» Led by 20 with 11:06 before halftime when McDermott scored on a layup.
» Used a 12-2 spurt during the next four minutes to make it 38-8 with 7:06 remaining in the half.
» Increased its lead to 32 points with 4:12 left before settling for a 26-point advantage at the break.
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That led Miles to sum up the first 20 minutes in his customary halftime tweet with the following message: “I'm not sure that half deserves a tweet after they just kicked the crap out of us.”
Creighton (7-2) rebuilt its lead to 30 points six minutes into the second half before Nebraska (6-3) started chipping away, reducing its deficit to 15 points on three occasions late in the game.
Naturally, Greg McDermott complimented the Huskers for not quitting and playing hard until the end. Shavon Shields, who led the Huskers with 22 points, put the second-half developments in a slightly different light.
“When we're down by 30, they're not as amped up,” Shields said. “I think they just outplayed us in the first half and we just had to play catch-up. It's kind of embarrassing.”
The Huskers' red faces couldn't match their uniforms as Nebraska wore black on Sunday. Creighton, too, came out with some new threads: The Bluejays sported gray instead of their traditional home whites.
“I like them a lot,” Doug McDermott said. “I think we should stick with them.”
His father quickly interjected: “There's a chance we'll see them again.”
Fashion statements aside, the bottom line was that the players in the Creighton uniforms were much more ready to play at the start. Especially the one wearing No. 3.
Doug McDermott made his first three 3-point attempts and had 17 points before the game was 15 minutes old. At that point, he held a 17-12 lead over the Huskers.
“Everything was clicking,” he said. “We got our confidence going, we were making shots and we were just on a roll there.”
McDermott would finish with 33 points — the 18th time in his career he has scored 30 points or more. He finished 12 of 23 from the field, including 5 of 10 from beyond the arc, and tacked on eight rebounds.
Ethan Wragge, starting his second straight game, added 16 points and a career-high nine rebounds in becoming the sixth player in program history to play in four wins over the Huskers.
Jahenns Manigat finished with 10 points while Grant Gibbs had eight to go with eight assists before he and Nebraska's Terran Petteway made early exits. They were ejected with 1:14 to play after a battle for a loose ball turned into a full-out scrum that had the officials scrambling to try to restore order. Both players received double-flagrant 2 fouls.
“We got tangled up,” Gibbs said. “It happens. It's basketball.”
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Said Miles: “I'm not into who started it and I don't know what happened. They told us it was excessive and unnecessary on both parts. Both guys were ejected, but it doesn't impact them in the future.”
Petteway scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half and threw down a couple of impressive dunks. Shields also scored 15 after the break, but it made little difference considering the hole the Huskers had dug themselves in the first 20 minutes.
“I like what Creighton did a lot better than what we did,” Miles said. “They played great. They moved the ball. That's a good team. Greg has a team of a lifetime.”
Naturally, McDermott saw enough things he didn't like that will keep the Bluejays busy at practice until their next game Dec. 17 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
He said he especially didn't like how his team finished the first half, allowing Nebraska to score on seven of its final eight possessions after the Huskers had converted just six of their first 27 into points.
“It's our challenge as a coaching staff to get these guys to play every possession a certain way no matter what the scoreboard says,” the coach said. “And in the second half, coach Miles made some adjustments and we didn't adjust to his adjustments as well as we needed to, both on the floor and on the bench.”
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>> Video: See highlights from Creighton's 82-67 win over Nebraska:
>> Video: See Fox Sports' highlights from the game:
>> Video: See Creighton coach Greg McDermott's comments after the game:
>> Video: See Nebraska coach Tim Miles' comments after the game: