For the second time this week, DePaul ran into a shooter they could not stop.
Five days after Trevon Bluiett sank DePaul with five 3-pointers and 24 points, the team returned home Sunday and allowed Creighton guard Isaiah Zierden to put up even bigger shooting numbers as the Bluejays toppled the Blue Demons, 91-80.
Zierden, who entered the day with 44 3-pointers on the year, drilled eight more on 11 attempts and finished the contest with a career-high 31 points.
DePaul’s porous perimeter defense left far too many open looks for Zierden, and the sparse home crowd was left to watch the 6-foot-2 junior celebrate each 3-pointer with a point to the sky and a wave of the arm.
Creighton shot 13-of-26 on 3-point attempts and hit 52.6 percent of their field goals overall. In doing so, the Bluejays overcame a strong rebounding effort from DePaul and efficient offensive performances from Blue Demons freshman guard Eli Cain and senior forward Myke Henry.
DePaul finished with 11 offensive rebounds and out-rebounded Creighton 35-23.
Henry shot 10-of-12 from the field and finished with 21 points. Cain also added 21, a career-best, on just eight shots. Seven of his points came at the free throw stripe.
The Blue Demons started the game looking poised to spring an upset.
They raced out to an early 11-0 lead before the game’s opening media timeout with 15:31 left in the first half, but then watched as the lead dissipated. A Creighton rally gave the visitors a 27-25 lead with 7:34 left in the first, and the Bluejays spent the rest of the afternoon staving off a number of DePaul rallies.
An early second half run capped by a Cain 3-pointer tied the game at 50-50 early in the second half. Then Zierden nailed a pair of quick 3-pointers to give Creighton a 56-50 advantage. After a Henry basket, Zierden hit yet another three, and the Bluejays leapt out to a 59-52 lead, which they would never relinquish.
It was the third straight game that DePaul allowed their opponent to hit double-digit 3-pointers.
“My concern is not the amount of threes,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao said. “My concern is the amount of comfort that the other team has against us.”
An excess of comfort led to a blistering shooting day from Zierden, who enterted the day leading the Big East in made 3-pointers.
DePaul has now lost six straight games.
“You take a really good offensive-minded Creighton team and make them feel comfortable and then they make shots, and it becomes to harder to try do your job,” Leitao said. “We’ve just got to try to rebound and get back at it.”