Creighton got a big lift from its supporting cast in Tuesday's 88-51 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The Bluejay reserves produced 39 points, had 13 of the team's 21 assists and made 15 of 24 shots from the field. Center Will Artino scored 10 points and had two assists, guard Devin Brooks had eight points, six rebounds and five assists, guard Avery Dingman had seven points, three rebounds and two assists and guard Isaiah Zierden had six points and an assist.
“I thought everyone really contributed tonight,” Creighton forward Doug McDermott said. “Will came in, brought energy and contributed around the basket, except for that dunk he missed. I thought Will played great and I thought Isaiah played really well.
“And it was good to see Avery and Zach get going as well.”
Freshman Zach Hanson had four points on a pair of crowd-pleasing dunks.
After starting Creighton's first seven games, the 6-foot-11 Artino has come off the bench to score 27 points in the past three. He had scored 40 points in his seven starts.
Ethan Wragge, who has become Creighton's second-leading scorer behind McDermott, took Artino's spot in the starting lineup.
“When the switch was made, I knew that Ethan had been scoring 12 points and getting a bunch of rebounds,” Artino said. “I knew someone had to replace that. Coach Mac had talked to me about bringing my energy and getting back to what I was doing last year.
“These last few games, I've just felt more comfortable than I had early in the year. And like Doug said, it was good to see everyone come in and contribute after such a long break.”
Praise for Dingman, Brooks
Creighton coach Greg McDermott had plenty of praise for Dingman and Brooks. The 6-foot-6 Dingman had been averaging 2.4 points in Creighton's first nine games.
“Avery Dingman has had three of the best days as a Bluejay as he's ever had,” McDermott said. “His last two days of practice and today's game, he's shown more confidence and urgency to his play.”
McDermott's comments brought a broad smile to Dingman's face.
“My body has been feeling good the last few days in practice and I've been able to bring a lot of energy,” he said. “I've always focused on bringing defense to the table, and I'm trying to be a little more conscious of being aggressive offensively and bringing the intangibles.”
Brooks did have three turnovers, and McDermott pulled him out of the game in the second half for a quick talking-to after Brooks had messed up a defensive assignment. Overall, though, Brooks turned in another solid effort.
“Devin is getting better every single day,” McDermott said. “There's no question from the start of practice until today, he's our most improved player. In terms of understanding what we do and our expectations of him and finding that happy medium between Devin being Devin and realizing how we need him to play.
“I'm really proud of him, and that's a credit to him.”
Cheers for sandwich shot
One of the night's biggest ovations came when Alec Brown of Fremont made a half-court shot to win a timeout shooting contest. His prize: free sub sandwiches for a year.
At the postgame press conference, Doug McDermott and Artino were asked if they knew the young man.
“I'd like to,” Artino said.
Greg McDermott wasn't aware of Brown's feat because he was focused on getting his team ready during the timeout. When told of what had happened, the coach replied, “Does he have any eligibility left?”
Wragge dogs on menu
Greg McDermott said the sharpshooting Wragge had been “licking his chops” in anticipation of facing an Arkansas-Pine Bluff team that primarily played a 2-3 zone.
After the game, Wragge was licking them for another reason. His grandparents made the trip from Minnesota for the game and brought with them a supply of their homemade hot dogs.
“I've got some Wragge dogs,” he said, smiling.
Wragge was looking forward to getting home and feasting on the treat knowing that his former roommate was no longer around.
“Gregory was a big fan,” said Wragge, referring to 270-pound former Bluejay Gregory Echenique. “I'm not going to have to share them with him this time.”
Bits and pieces
» Creighton made 14 of its last 18 shots, with three of the misses by walk-on guard Steve Ferrarini.
» The Bluejays have not trailed in their past two games against Nebraska and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Creighton has 43 wire-to-wire victories in 173 games at the CenturyLink Center.
» Doug McDermott made 13 of 13 free throws and has a streak of 29 in a row. Teammate Jahenns Manigat has made 20 straight shots from the line.
» The win was Creighton's 150th at the arena.
» Austin Chatman had two of Creighton's seven steals and now has 50 for his career.