PHILADELPHIA – Doug McDermott converted a three-point play with 4.9 seconds to play to give Creighton (3-0) a 83-79 win over Saint Joseph's (2-1) in front of a sold-out crowd at Hagan Arena.
Ronald Roberts, Jr. gave the Hawks a 79-78 lead with a pair of free throws with 27.5 seconds remaining. SJU had two fouls to give and committed both to force Creighton to inbound with 13.3 seconds remaining. McDermott, who scored 20 points in the game, got the ball on the baseline and hit a jumper inside the arc and was fouled on the play.
The Hawks had one more chance but the inbounds pass at 4.9 seconds remaining was intercepted. Devin Brooks then hit a pair of free throws to provide the final margin for Creighton.
The loss ruined a team high 20-point effort by SJU freshman DeAndre' Bembry, who scored 14 in the second half. Bembry shot 8-for-14 from the field and connected on 4-of-8 three-pointers.
Junior Chris Wilson scored 18 points, making 6-of-11 three-pointers, for the Hawks while Langston Galloway scored 14 and Roberts had 13. Halil Kanacevic had a double-double with 10 rebounds and 10 assists for SJU.
Ethan Wragge had a game-high 21 points on 7-for-11 three-point shooting while Devin Brooks scored 16 for the Bluejays.
Saint Joseph's led from the start, building up an 18-7 lead in the first seven minutes, led by seven points from Galloway. The Hawks held a double-digit lead for most of the first half, and 38-28 with 5:35 remaining in the half. But Creighton's Ethan Wragge connected on three consecutive three-pointers and the Bluejays used a 10-2 run to close within 40-38 with 2:24 remaining. SJU then closed out the half with a 5-2 run to own a 45-40 lead at halftime.
The second half was close throughout as the teams exchanged leads. Saint Joseph's fought back from an 72-64 deficit as Bembry hit a three with 3:16 to go to pull the Hawks within 74-72.
"The area that we have to grow, not that we have to grow but that the players have to grow, is our communication. We didn't do a good enough job in our defensive communication. That will come and it'll be incumbent upon us as coaches to work that communication and build that communication so that this team can be what I believe they are, which is a good unit," said head coach Phil Martelli.
I think that DeAndre' is what we thought he has been. That's not a game for an 18-year-old, and he doesn't think or play like an 18-year-old. He had one bad casual turnover on an outside bump screen and he threw a real casual pass. So, his shooting has been better than I would have anticipated and it's because he believes that ball is going in the basket. It's not great form but he has great confidence that the ball is going in the basket. I liked his drive in the first half. I thought that was his best play of the game," said Martelli of the freshman.
The Hawks get an extended break with their next game on Thanksgiving night against LSU in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando.