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Bulls scout watches highly touted McDermott, Creighton dump DePaul

Creighton's Doug McDermott (3) drives an NCAA college basketball game between CreightMarquette OmahNeb. Tuesday Dec. 31 2013. Creightw67-49. (AP Photo/Nati

Creighton's Doug McDermott (3) drives in an NCAA college basketball game between Creighton and Marquette, in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. Creighton won 67-49. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

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Updated: January 7, 2014 11:57PM

The “old’’ Big East was a conference filled with big-time national stars.

The “new’’ Big East can thank its newest member, Creighton, for keeping the tradition alive.

In senior Doug McDermott, the Bluejays not only have the best player in the conference, they might have the best player in the country.

He’s the reason eight NBA scouts from six teams, including the Bulls, were at Allstate Arena on Tuesday watching as Creighton defeated ­DePaul 81-62.

“He has an extremely high basketball IQ and really knows how to score in different ways,’’ one scout said. “He’s always moving with a purpose.’’

Already a two-time All-American, the son of Creighton coach Greg McDermott could become the first three-time All-American since Patrick Ewing and Wayman Tisdale from 1983 to ’85.

“I just think he’s the best player in the country,’’ DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. “He has an off night and still scores 19 [to lead the Bluejays].’’

DePaul continually switched players guarding McDermott, but that left the door open for Creighton’s other strength — three-point shooting.

The Bluejays hit 11 of 21 threes, with senior Ethan Wragge dropping 4 of 8.

“But what hurt us the most was turnovers again,’’ Purnell said of his team’s 15 miscues leading to 12 Creighton points.

The loss ended a three-game home winning streak for DePaul (8-8, 0-3).

The Demons held McDermott scoreless for the first 13 minutes, and he finished the half with only seven points.

He left the game briefly with 1:18 remaining in the half after hurting his left shoulder getting tangled with DePaul sophomore Peter Ryckbosch.

But he was back for the last 19 seconds of the half, putting in a ­layup as the buzzer sounded to give the Bluejays (13-2, 3-0) a 37-32 lead.

“We did a good job on him the first half, but we should have come out with more fight and more focus in the second half,’’ said DePaul senior Brandon Young, who rebounded from a scoreless game at Marquette to lead all scorers with a season-high 24 points.

Teammate Cleveland Melvin added 16 points, but freshman starter Billy Garrett Jr. was scoreless on 0-for-10 shooting.

“I told him he’s going to have a long career and there are going to be nights like that and just come back for the next game,’’ Purnell said.

DePaul again was without junior Jamee Crockett, who’s under suspension for an unspecified conduct issue.


Twitter: @toniginnetti

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