Doug McDermott's Historic Scoring Night Is College Basketball at Its Best

C.J. MooreCollege Basketball National Lead WriterMarch 9, 2014

USA Today

OMAHA, Neb. — On the night before Creighton's Doug McDermott made history, he went out to dinner at Kona Grill with his parents, his older brother Nick and his younger sister Sydney.

The McDermotts have made it a tradition this year for the family to get together for dinner the night before a home game. They try not to talk about basketball, but Nick couldn't help it on Friday night.

"You think you're going to get to 3,000 tomorrow night?" he asked his younger brother, who entered Saturday's game 34 points shy.

"There's no way," Doug told him.

Late Saturday night about an hour after he got there, Doug posed for pictures with his family.

The photographer asked Greg McDermott to hold up three fingers. Doug stood next to his dad with the game ball. Next to Doug, his mom, sister and brother all made zeros with their fingers.

A photo finish to a storybook night.

Not only did McDermott get to 3,000 points—only the eighth (and quite possibly the last) player in NCAA history to do so—he blazed past it.

Nati Harnik/Associated Press

McDermott scored a career-high 45 points in a 88-73 win over Providence in front of a record-setting crowd that got exactly what it wanted to see.

"It was an incredible night," Creighton coach and proud dad Greg McDermott said afterward.

"That's the most fun I've had watching a basketball game," said an NBA front-office executive on press row in the final minute, speaking for every person in the building lucky enough to witness that performance.

These moments in sports usually don't play out like we want them to.

But McDermott chased down 3,000 like a dream.

He made the game's first bucket and missed his next three shots, prompting teammate Grant Gibbs to say, "I thought he missed a couple easy ones early and couldn't foresee a night like that." But in typical Doug fashion, he scored 10 straight points in a little more than two minutes.

By halftime, McDermott had 22 points. And it wasn't a matter of whether he'd get to 3,000 on this night anymore, but how soon.

Once he got to 32, Creighton's students all held up two fingers and chanted "two more points! Two more points!"

With 11:30 left on the clock, Doug gave them three. 

He dribbled to his left around a ball screen, set himself from 25 feet out and watched the ball go through the net without touching rim. 

Thirty-one seconds later, dad, not coach, called timeout.

Greg stood with 18,868 Creighton fans and clapped his hands as his son walked toward him, and they embraced.

"It was without question a moment of time I'll never forget," Greg said later. 

Nati Harnik/Associated Press

"I don't think I've ever heard this place that loud," Nick said. 

And then Doug kept going, chasing another record—his previous career-high of 44.

A man on a mission?

"He's on a mission a lot," Gibbs said.

McDermott made two free throws, back-to-back layups, two more free throws on two more trips to the line and then his final layup at the CenturyLink Center to give him 45.

"For him to score 45 and hit the 3,000 mark, career high, on his senior night, to end the season undefeated at home, it's obviously special for him and all of us too," Nick said.

"All the accolades and all the points and the way he's handled it has been incredible, but for me to be able to see every second of it is really, really cool," Greg said. "It's something that I'll carry with me for a long time." 

As Doug watched some of those moments whiz by on a highlight video afterward with the building still packed, Greg reached up and rubbed his son's head. 

Doug finally lowered his head and gave into the emotion for the first time. 

He told his brother on Friday night all he wanted was to win on his senior night. 

"I never really in my wildest dreams thought I'd reach 3,000," he said.

But Doug McDermott, of all people, should believe in fairy tales by now. 


C.J. Moore covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @CJMooreBR.