Ultimately, Wednesday night’s game came down to the better team winning. But, man, you have to admire the way Marquette stuck with a potential Final Four opponent for the majority of its 85-70 loss to Creighton Wednesday night.
It just wasn’t enough.
The Bluejays shot 61 percent from the field, made 11 threes and shot 80 percent from the free throw line. Any team will struggle to beat a team that plays that well.
The Golden Eagles held All-American Doug McDermott in check for the first half (he had just eight points), but when it came down to crunch time, the senior showed why he will be the runaway winner of the Naismith Award this season.
McDermott finished with 25 points, including 11 straight at one point to will his team to victory.
Deonte Burton led Marquette with 11 points, while Todd Mayo and Jamil Wilson each had 10.
Sharpshooter Ethan Wragge hit six threes, including a dagger with 3:53 left to put Creighton up, 77-62.
Marquette had the lead down to 64-59 on a Mayo free throw with 7:27 left, but McDermott hit a three from NBA range with the shot clock winding down on the next possession.
After Mayo was stripped on what looked to be an easy layup, Austin Chatman hit a huge three in transition to make it 72-61 with 5:22 left.
Creighton started out the second half with four straight from McDermott before Marquette cut the lead to 46-41 after a Gardner layup. Mayo missed a three and McDermott drilled his at the other end to quiet the crowd, cueing an 8-0 run.
The Bluejays started the game by hitting 6-of-7 from downtown, including four from Wragge and led 28-18 after a McDermott jumper with 9:35 left.
Marquette then went on a 7-0 run capped by a Jake Thomas jumper with 6:28 left in the half. The Bluejays responded with four straight before Todd Mayo answered with a jumper to make it 32-27.
Four straight from Burton made it 35-31 with 3:21 left in the half, but Creighton ended the half on a 7-4 run.
After starting hot from long range, Creighton missed its next six attempts from three but still shot 62.5 percent overall in the first half.
The Golden Eagles held McDermott to just eight points in the first half but saw the Bluejays assist on 12 of 15 made baskets.