On Jan. 28, Doug McDermott had 39 points and six rebounds to lead Creighton to a 63-60 home victory against St. John’s. The Red Storm must contain McDermott on Sunday to upset the 12th-ranked Bluejays.
McDermott is 6 feet 8 inches tall, weighs 225 pounds and plays the forward position. He has excelled so much during his senior season that he is a strong candidate for the 2014 John R. Wooden Award; Most Outstanding Player.
He is averaging 25.3 points per game, on 49.6 percent from the field, 7.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.3 steals and 0.1 blocks this season. He has had numerous ‘great’ performances this season, but arguably his best one was against the Red Storm.
McDermott was able to score at will against the Red Storm.
He was on fire with his three-point shooting and he finished the game making five of his nine three-point attempts. He was also deadly in the paint.
There were times when the Red Storm defenders had to respect his three-point ability and play tight defense. McDermott was able to take advantage of some of those scenarios by driving past the defender and scoring in the paint or hitting a fade-away jumper.
McDermott ended up making 15 of 26 field goals, which equated to a 57.7 field goal percentage. This included a go-ahead, three-point shot with 0.5 seconds remaining in the game to help the then 18th-ranked Bluejays narrowly escape with the victory.
The Red Storm will have another chance to upset the Bluejays, now 12th-ranked, on Sunday. The key to the Red Storm pulling off the upset is containing McDermott.
There is not one player on the Red Storm that can play ‘great’ man-to-man defense on McDermott because of his skill set. It is tough for the Red Storm to have a player, like sophomore center Chris Obekpa, guard him because of his three-point ability.
McDermott can take advantage of a tall player’s poor perimeter defense by shooting three-point or fadeaway jumpers. He also has the size and strength to ‘bump and grind’ with a taller defender in the paint.
This allows him to draw fouls or make fadeaway jumpers. A smaller Red Storm defender, like junior guard-forward Sir’Dominic Pointer, is also a bad matchup against McDermott because of his size.
McDermott can easily shoot over a smaller defender because of his size and shooting motion. If he does not want to do that, then he can post-up a smaller defender.
This would allow McDermott to make an easy basket in the paint or make a fadeaway jumper. His prolific scoring is able to make-up for his teammate’s lackluster scoring.
The Bluejays have one other player that is averaging double digits in scoring this season. Senior forward Ethan Wragge is the only other player and he is averaging 11.9 points per game.
The fact that McDermott is their best scorer by a wide margin makes it even more critical for the Red Storm to contain him. The Red Storm can never be counted out when they play at Madison Square Garden; MSG.
They have faced four ranked teams this season at MSG and they have lost all four of those games. Two of those games they were defeated by a combined 12 points.
Many experts gave the Red Storm no chance to defeat then second-ranked Syracuse on Dec. 15.
The Red Storm were not able to defeat them, but they only lost by five points, 68-63. The game was so competitive that the Orange were not able to put the game out of reach until there were about two minutes remaining in the game.
The last ranked team the Red Storm defeated at MSG was 20th-ranked Notre Dame on Jan. 15, 2013. The Red Storm can pull off their first victory against a ranked team this season if they can contain McDermott.