ROSEMONT, Ill. — The three most important letters for the Creighton basketball team in the wake of Tuesday night's win over DePaul might be M-R-I.
Two-time All-American Doug McDermott and sixth-year senior Grant Gibbs will undergo the magnetic resonance imaging tests to determine the extent of injuries that occurred during the 81-62 victory at Allstate Arena.
Gibbs did not play the final 25 minutes after injuring his right knee during a battle for a rebound. McDermott suffered a left shoulder injury late in the first half but managed to score 12 of his 19 points in the second half as the Bluejays, tied for 23rd in the coaches rankings, won their eighth straight game.
“We don't know what's going to happen with Grant,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said on his postgame radio show. “We'll have an MRI tomorrow and have him see our team doc. Doug will have an MRI on his shoulder and see what the damage is there.
“But the next guy has to be ready. That's the reality of it. Part of our game is injuries and dealing with them, and we were fortunate tonight that our bench was ready to go. Without their contributions, we would have been in big trouble tonight.”
The Bluejays (13-2, 3-0 Big East) got a season-high 16 points out of junior guard Avery Dingman in 18 minutes, while junior center Will Artino chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds in 12 minutes. While the contributions of Devin Brooks, Isaiah Zierden and Zach Hanson didn't show up big in the box score, their coach had plenty of praise for their efforts.
“With Grant's injury the first half, with not knowing at halftime if Doug could play the second half — he couldn't lift his arm above his shoulder — I don't know if I've been as proud of a team as I am of this group right now,” McDermott said. “We didn't play well in the first half, and we allowed DePaul to do things we didn't want them to do.
“We've got guys that have proven themselves now. And that's going to have to continue because it's my guess we're going to be without Grant for the immediate future and we won't know how long for sure until we get those results tomorrow.”
Creighton also got solid efforts from starters Austin Chatman, who had 10 points, six assists and just one turnover; Jahenns Manigat, who scored seven points, grabbed four rebounds and had three steals, and Ethan Wragge, who delivered three of his four 3-pointers in the closing minutes to thwart DePaul's attempt to get back into the game.
The Blue Demons gave Creighton fits in the first 20 minutes and were within 37-32 at halftime. The Bluejays got things going to start the second half, building a 15-point lead with 11:14 to play.
DePaul used a 14-6 spurt, capped by Brandon Young's three-point play, over the next four minutes to trim Creighton's lead to 62-56. Creighton then closed the final 7:14 with a 19-6 run that featured the three Wragge bombs and six points by Dingman.
Dingman had scored just 31 points in Creighton's first 14 games and was battling a shooting slump, having made 33.3 percent of his field-goal attempts and 28.6 percent of his 3-point tries.
Against DePaul, the 6-foot-6 junior made 6 of 8 shots, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. He also had five rebounds.
“I've been focusing on coming of the bench and giving energy,” Dingman said. “The last few games, I haven't been hitting shots, but that 'and-one' felt good. I knew my shots would start falling eventually, and I knew I couldn't be worried about it.”
Dingman's “and-one” came early in the second half when he was fouled from behind by DePaul's Charles McKinney while shooting a 3-pointer.
“I went up to shoot it, and Doug was like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa,' ” Dingman said. “I had no idea he was behind me. I thought it was a wide-open 3, and when he hit me, somehow my arms went down but the ball went up.”
The four-point play gave Creighton a 13-point lead five minutes into the second half. That shot is the one the fans will talk about in the coming days, but Greg McDermott was equally impressed with a couple of hard drives to the basket that resulted in layups for Dingman.
“He had a couple of very athletic, aggressive takes to the basket,” the coach said. “That was good to see, as well as knocking down a couple of 3s. He's been struggling with his shot a little, but he's played well defensively.
“I thought Avery played a really good basketball game, and a game we need Avery to play moving forward as we have to fight through some times possibly without Grant.”
Unlike in Saturday's win at Seton Hall when he got off to a red-hot start, Doug McDermott struggled to get going against DePaul. He didn't make his first shot until drilling a 3-pointer with 7:17 left in the first half, and he finished the first 20 minutes 2 of 8 from the field for seven points.
Late in the first half, McDermott and DePaul's Tommy Hamilton collided as McDermott attempted to work for position inside.
“I just made a simple cut that I always make, and I just popped him in the wrong spot,” McDermott said. “I don't think it's anything too serious and we'll get it checked out here in the morning.
“I iced it at halftime, and I couldn't even lift my arm. Couldn't even feel it, even. After a while, we threw some heat on it and I got comfortable. I wasn't trying to think about it. I was just trying to help my team win.”
DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said he felt his team did a good job on McDermott, who finished 6 of 16 from the field and didn't attempt a 3-point shot in the final 20 minutes.
“But when you pay that much attention to him, that really opens up things for their 3-point shooters,” Purnell said. “That's the second-biggest strength of their team.”
The Blue Demons (8-8, 0-3) got 24 points from Young and 16 from Cleveland Melvin, but only four other DePaul players scored.
“We play our next game in 40 hours,” Purnell said, “and we have to be ready to play longer and better.”
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>> Video: See coach Greg McDermott's comments after the win:
>> Video: See Doug McDermott speak to the media:
>> Video: See Doug McDermott speak on Fox Sports after the game:
>> Video: Fox Sports recaps Creighton's win at DePaul: