College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, February 7, 2014
The two top teams in the Big East were in action Friday night, Villanova and Creghton remaining tied for the conference lead at 9-1 with convincing wins on their respective home courts.
Villanova gave coach Jay Wright his 400th career victory with a 70-53 splattering of Seton Hall, while the Creighton Blue Jays and star forward, Doug McDermott, were pasting DePaul, 78-66.
Wright has 278 wins at Villanova; the rest were earned at Hofstra.
McDermott, the leading candidate for player of the year honors, didn't have his best shooting game, going 9-for-21, but he made up for his misfires by nailing 13 of 14 from the charity stripe en route to a game-high 32 points, well above his 25.3 average. 4-for-6 in the early going, McDermott's teammates picked up the pace after Seton Hall tied the game at 13-all, going on a 13-2 spurt punctuated by a McDermott dunk, midway through the first half, taking control of the game which they led nearly all the way.
The Pirates cut the lead to two points on a couple of occasions in the second half and to one point with under eight minutes to play, but each time, Creighton had answers. With 5:30 left, the Bluejays' lead was four, until McDermott scored nine straight points - seven from the foul line - in just under three minutes, to put the game out of reach.
McDermott reached another milestone during the game, canning his 1,000th field goal during the contest. He is the first Division I player to achieve that mark since Calbert Cheaney did it from 1989 through 1993. According to ESPN, McDermott also passed J.J. Redick for 17th on the all-time Division I scoring list.
McDermott, the nation's second-leading scorer behind Niagara's Antoine Mason (26.0), was also the game's high rebounder, with nine, though the Blue Demons held a 41-31 edge on the boards.
Creighton's complete 19-3 record includes losses to San Diego State, George Washington and Providence. They are ranked #12 in the current AP poll. #6 Villanova sports a 21-2 record, with losses to Syracuse and Creighton. The two Big East powerhouses meet again on February 16 in a game that will likely determine the conference champion.