OMAHA, Neb. — Creighton kept preseason All-American Jimmer Fredette under control but couldn't figure out a way to stop BYU's Brandon Davies.
Davies scored 16 of his career-high 24 points in the last 10 minutes, after Creighton had rallied to tie the game, and the 21st-ranked Cougars remained unbeaten with a 77-65 victory Wednesday night in their first true road game.
The 6-foot-9, 235-pound Davies' big night came after back-to-back dismal performances in the South Padre Island Invitational last weekend. He scored a combined 13 points and shot 4 of 16 from the field and 5 of 12 from the free throw line against South Florida and Saint Mary's.
But against Creighton he was 9 of 11 from the field and 6 of 9 from the line, with five of his six rebounds coming on the offensive end.
"I had to move forward from the South Padre," Davies said. "I didn't shoot very well from the stripe in that tournament. I kind of buckled down in practice, got a little extra in and tried to make it transfer to the game."
Fredette and Jackson Emery added 13 points apiece and Kyle Collinsworth had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars (7-0).
With Fredette well-guarded, the Cougars were content to feed Davies in the post. He outmuscled Missouri Valley Conference preseason player of the year Kenny Lawson and anyone else who got in his way. He scored the Cougars' last 13 points.
"My teammates were behind me 100 percent," Davies said. "They were telling each other to get me the ball. When anyone is scoring consistently, we try to find ways to get them the ball."
Creighton coach Greg McDermott said the Bluejays' defensive focus on Fredette allowed more opportunities for Davies and others.
"But most of what Davies got was really a lack of toughness on our part," McDermott said. "I'm not sure BYU is that much more talented than we are. I'm pretty sure they're a lot tougher than we are. And that's disheartening."
The Cougars needed double overtime to beat South Florida and a last-second shot by Fredette to beat Saint Mary's. For a while, it looked like there would be more drama against Creighton after the Cougars squandered a 12-point cushion in the first half.
BYU quickly restored its double-digit lead after the Bluejays tied it 51-all in the middle of the second half.
Fredette and Davies converted three-point plays, Collinsworth tipped in a third-chance basket and Noah Hartsock dunked after blocking Darryl Ashford's shot on the other end to make it 61-51 with 8:13 left.
"That's a really good win for our program," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "Two tough wins on the road and the travel, you don't know how your team is going to respond. Getting that first true road win is big for every team. I thought we played well tonight and deserved to win."
Doug McDermott had 20 points and 12 rebounds to become the first Creighton freshman since Bob Harstad in 1988 to record a double-double. Antoine Young added 15 points and Ashford had 12 for the Bluejays (4-3).
McDermott played a key role in the second-half comeback. He converted a three-point play after putting back his own miss, then slid behind the defense on the baseline to turn a bullet pass from Ashford into an easy basket.
But Creighton couldn't overcome Davies and its own poor shooting. The Bluejays missed 9 of their first 10 3-pointers, finished 7 of 25 from long range and shot 39.3 percent overall.
Creighton mainly rotated Young and Josh Jones on Fredette and employed some double-teams. The senior guard, who came in averaging 24.8 points, was held to just four shots and five points in the first half, and he finished 5 of 15 for a season-low 13 points.29 comments on this story
"They just did everything they possibly could — double-teams, trying to stop me from getting to the middle of the floor, doing anything to stop me from shooting the ball," Fredette said. "We have good players on this team, so if you do that, we're going to find guys and make shots. It's tough to guard us like that if you really want to win the game."
Rose said Fredette maintained his poise and found other ways to contribute.
"I was really proud of Jimmer for the way he trusted his teammates," Rose said, "and I think we can win a lot of games when you get four guys scoring in double figures."