Creighton hopes for better luck against Duke
Doug McDermott has been living a dream for the last two seasons at Creighton.
An All-American last season who is picking up similar accolades again this season, McDermott gets to do it all while playing for his father, Bluejays coach Greg McDermott.
But Doug McDermott said Sunday’s NCAA Tournament game with Duke will mark a career milestone for him.
“We’ve been working for this moment since we lost to North Carolina last year,” he said. “I think it’s every kid’s dream to play against Duke in the tournament. It really doesn’t get much better than that.”
The Bluejays, who were eliminated by the Tar Heels in the 2012 Midwest Regional in Greensboro, get a shot at UNC’s top rival on Sunday. Behind McDermott’s 27 points, No. 7 seed Creighton topped Cincinnati 67-63 on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.
As a reward, Greg McDermott said, his team faces one of the nation’s top teams on Sunday.
“They are very versatile,” the elder McDermott said. “You could argue that they may be the best team in the country since Ryan Kelly has come back. He gives them another weapon in a stretch four.”
The coach said Kelly, the 6-11 senior forward, teams with 6-10 senior Mason Plumlee to make Duke tough. He called Plumlee “as good a front-line player as we’ve faced.”
“It’ll be a heck of a challenge for us,” McDermott said, “but I know it’s something our guys are really excited about. It’s been our goal to get back to this game and see if we can kick that door down. It will be a challenge but we’re going to enjoy every second of it.”
Duke on verge of exclusive club
Friday’s win over Albany was the 1,999th in Duke basketball history.
If the Blue Devils beat Creighton on Sunday, they will join Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina as Division I college basketball teams with at least 2,000 wins.
Kelly searching for range
Kelly burst back on the college basketball scene in a big way on March 2, when he made 7 of 9 shots from 3-point range against Miami.
But since that big night after missing 13 games because of a right foot injury, Kelly is slumping on long-range shots.
The 6-11 senior forward has made only two of his last 16 over four games against Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Maryland and Albany.
He was 0-of-3 in Duke’s 73-61 win over Albany on Friday.
“That’s part of the game of basketball,” said Kelly, a 47-percent 3-point shooter this season. “I’m not worried about that. I’m confident in my shot, and I think I’m making the next one.”
Duke’s win over Albany gives the Blue Devils a 5-0 record in NCAA Tournament games played in Philadelphia.
The other two years Duke played games here, in 1992 and 2001, it won the national championship.