NEWARK, N.J. — The numbers from Creighton's 79-66 win over Seton Hall added up to perhaps Grant Gibbs' most productive game of the season.
Not that the Creighton senior is counting.
“At this point, I don't really care,” Gibbs said. “I don't think I've been as productive numbers-wise as I should be, but that's not what I'm focused on. I just want to win games.
“As long as I'm affecting games in multiple ways, I'm doing my job. And as long as we're getting wins, that's all that matters.”
In Creighton's seventh straight win in a 12-2 season, Gibbs had 12 points to match his season high. He was 4 of 9 from the field and 3 of 3 from the free-throw line while tacking on five rebounds and five assists in playing 39 minutes.
Gibbs came into the game averaging 5.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists in Creighton's first 13 games.
“He does so many things for us,” forward Doug McDermott said. “He had a really good game today in all areas. I've never seen Grant as vocal as he was today. He's a huge part of what we are.”
As lavish as Kevin Willard was in his praise of McDermott, the Seton Hall coach saved some of his most flowery bouquets for Gibbs.
“He's the ultimate guy,” Willard said. “He doesn't want to shoot, he doesn't have to shoot. He's not worried about scoring, he's not worried about the pros, he's not worried about anything other than making the right play.
“And he does. He's a sixth-year guy, which makes him about the same age as me. That is fun to watch. He's their point guard. He might not dribble it up, but he's their point guard. I love watching that kid play.”
Saturday was Willard's first in-person look at Creighton, and it didn't take him long to sense the chemistry that McDermott and Gibbs have on the court.
“I don't know if him and Doug are best friends,” Willard said, “but if I were Doug, I'd buy him a beer after every game. He gives Doug the ball where he needs it, when he needs it and at the right time.”
McDermott free throw streak ends
McDermott's 30-point performance boosted his career scoring total to 2,562 points and moved him into 40th on the NCAA's all-time scoring chart.
He spent a few minutes after Creighton's first Big East road game signing autographs and interacting with Seton Hall fans.
“The people are so nice out here,” he said. “I really liked it out here on the East Coast, and we'll be back to play St. John's. The fans here were great, it's a great arena and I really enjoyed the trip.”
He did experience one negative: He saw his school-record streak of consecutive made free throws end at 45. McDermott made his first four free throws against the Pirates but missed one that would have completed a three-point play with 5:49 to play.
“The streak is over,” he said, smiling. “Here's to starting a new streak.”
McDermott had not missed from the free-throw line since missing his first attempt in a Dec. 1 loss to George Washington.
“That was a quite a run,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “Forty-five is a lot of free throws.”
Jays control boards, paint
Creighton's 38-27 rebounding advantage included an 11-1 edge on the offensive boards. The Bluejays used their offensive rebounding to build a 19-2 edge in second-chance points.
Creighton also finished with a 40-20 advantage in points in the paint.
“Because of our shooters, it creates space,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “Our points in the paint will come with Doug in there, but some of it will come because people are worried about the multiple shooters we have on the floor.
“Because of that, there are opportunities to drive it.”
McDermott said Creighton also benefitted by the absence of 6-foot-9 Eugene Teague. He missed his second straight game since suffering a concussion in the Pirates' win a week ago against Lafayette.
Willard said he's uncertain how much longer Teague, who played his first two seasons at Southern Illinois, will be sidelined. Teague tried to practice Thursday but became dizzy after about 10 minutes.
“He was doing well on the concussion protocol,” Willard said. “He looked great and felt great today, but I've made the decision not to do anything with him in the near future. We want to make sure he's OK.”
Coach McDermott praises Brooks
Greg McDermott praised the effort Creighton got from backup point guard Devin Brooks, who scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds. Starter Austin Chatman picked up two fouls in the game's first 97 seconds, and played just eight minutes.
“Devin played great off the bench,” McDermott said, “at a time when we desperately needed him.”
The 11 points Brooks scored were the most since he had 23 in the Nov. 28 win over Arizona State.
Bits and pieces
» The turnout of 7,060 at the 18,711-seat Prudential Center was Seton Hall's largest crowd of the season. The Pirates' previous high was 6,725 for a Dec. 14 game against St. Peter's.
» Seton Hall made just two field goals in the final 17 minutes but made 19 points from the free-throw line. The Pirates shot 28 free throws in the final 20 minutes after going to the line just twice in the first half.
» Jahenns Manigat recorded his 100th career steal in his 100th consecutive start for the Bluejays.
» Doug McDermott passed Rodney Buford on Creighton's all-time 3-point chart. McDermott now has 214 baskets from beyond the arc.
» Ethan Wragge made his second 2-point basket of the season while pushing his 3-point total to 52. Wragge grabbed an offensive rebound early in the game, but his attempt was about to spin out when Seton Hall was called for basket interference when one of its players touched the net.
» Creighton guard Avery Dingman was sporting a clean-shaving look. Dingman had been growing a beard since November. “I just felt like it was time for a change,” Dingman said. “Maybe I'll less wind resistance and be a little quicker out there.”
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Video: Coach Greg McDermott after the Creighton-Seton Hall game:
Video: Doug McDermott on the win over Seton Hall:
Video: Check out the recap for Creighton vs. Seton Hall. (highlights)