ROSEMONT, Ill. — The last thing Creighton coach Greg McDermott expected to be carting back to Omaha after two Big East road games was an 18-rebound advantage over the two opponents.
The Bluejays finished Tuesday's 81-62 win over DePaul with a 39-32 edge on the boards. Creighton owned a 38-27 rebounding advantage on Seton Hall in Saturday's 79-66 win.
Asked about his team's rebounding on Tuesday's postgame radio show, McDermott admitted he would have thought anyone predicting an 18-board margin in the two games would be slightly off base.
“I would have thought they were crazy,” McDermott said. “But I also would have thought we would have a great chance to win. The offensive rebounds we're getting are just hustle.
“We don't have anyone getting them at the top of the square. We just have guys that are digging in and finding a way.”
Ethan Wragge and Will Artino each had seven rebounds to lead the Bluejays' effort against DePaul. All 10 Bluejays that saw action had at least one rebound.
Fifteen of Creighton's rebounds against DePaul came at the offensive end of the court and resulted in a 26-10 advantage in second-chance points. The Bluejays finished win a 19-2 edge in that statistical category after grabbing 11 offensive rebounds against Seton Hall to the Pirates' one.
“We're just focusing on it,” Creighton forward Doug McDermott said. “It's all a mindset. If we're going to win this conference, we're going to have to do it on the boards.
“We work on it a bunch in practice. We doing a great job of collectively boxing out as a group and going and getting those rebounds.”
Gibbs said he's hoping for best with MRI exam
Creighton guard Grant Gibbs said he's hoping for the best when he undergoes an MRI exam on Wednesday to determine the extent of damage to his right knee.
Gibbs was injured while battling DePaul's DeJuan Marrero for a rebound with about five minutes left in the first half. Gibbs had possession of the basketball when Marrero reached in to try to wrestle it away. The players became entangled, and television replays showed Gibbs' right knee bending awkwardly as he fell to the court.
Gibbs had to be helped from the court and was taken to the Creighton locker room, his face grimacing with pain. Steve Merfeld, Creighton's director of basketball development, said in a halftime radio interview that the injury wasn't as bad as first feared but offered no further details.
Greg McDermott said in postgame interviews that the sixth-year senior will undergo tests on Wednesday and also will be examined by team medical personnel.
In a text to The World-Herald, Gibbs said the knee was swollen. Of the injury, he said, “It felt like my knee bended in a way that it shouldn't have.”
Shoulder injury causes Doug McDermott to alter strategy
Creighton Nation also experienced some anxious moments when Doug McDermott injured his left shoulder after a minor collision with a DePaul player late in the first half.
“I've never really had that kind of a sensation before,” said McDermott when asked about the pain that caused him to wince noticeably on several occasions. “I really wanted to go there in the second half. It didn't feel the best, but I was able to gut it out and help us get the win.
“I haven't been injured much so it was definitely a scary feeling. I make those cuts all the time but this time I just hit the wrong spot. I think we'll get some ice on it and get some meds, and I should be feeling better.”
Greg McDermott asked his son at halftime if he felt he could play in the second half and Doug's reply was a succinct, “Absolutely.”
The injury forced Creighton to alter how it used McDermott as he did not attempt a 3-point shot in the second half. He said he often times was content to act as a decoy in order to get his teammates open shots. He finished with four assists to go along with 19 points and five rebounds in 35 minutes.
DePaul tried to press Creighton in the late going in an attempt to stay in the game. At that point, Greg McDermott said his son asked to not be the player at the back of Creighton's press break.
“He said, 'Dad, I can't dribble with my left hand, I can't move my left arm,'” Greg McDermott said. “I said, 'They don't know that but they know Ethan can't dribble.' I told him we just need to trick them a little.”