Bloomington, Ind. — Thomas Bryant enjoyed playing the middle man Thursday night.
Indiana’s highly touted freshman dominated the post on offense, grabbed rebounds and blocked shots on defense and had just as much fun setting up his teammates.
On a night James Blackmon Jr. scored 19 points, Bryant stole the show with a resounding 17-point, seven-rebound performance that helped No. 14 Indiana rout Creighton, 86-65.
“The lion came out in me,” Bryant said. “Luckily, it was my game.”
Bryant is more than just a one-trick pony, too.
After starting his career with two solid games, the 6-foot-10 center finished 7-of-10 from the field, made the first 3-pointer of his career, blocked four shots, had two assists and one steal. And when he wasn’t filling the stat lines, Bryant appeared to have just as much fun setting picks for his teammates.
By the end of the night, the student section was chanting his first and last name as Bryant stomped his feet and encouraged the crowd to roar.
It was exactly what coach Tom Crean expected to see from Bryant.
“He’s tuned in, he’s tuned in,” Crean said. “He’s having a lot of fun.”
Creighton (2-1), on the other hand, was frustrated.
After averaging 98 points in their first two games, the Bluejays wound up with only two players in double figures. Maurice Watson Jr. had 21 points and Khyri Thomas had 11.
They were a dismal 3 of 18 on 3s, had no offensive rebounds in the first half and never could stop Bryant.
“They’ve got a lot of pieces,” coach Greg McDermott said. “Bryant adds another dimension to them that I don’t think they had last year with his ability to protect the rim. They can throw it to him and he can make some plays and he even had a 3 tonight.”
The Hoosiers (3-0) made it look easy.
They took the lead on their first basket, a 3-pointer from Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, and never trailed again. Bryant’s three spurred a 12-0 run that gave Indiana a 26-10 lead less than nine minutes into the game.
Creighton never got closer than 15 the rest of the way.
“He’s enjoying himself,” Crean said of Bryant. “The good news is he’s going to continue to get better.”
More Big Ten men
Iowa 89, (at) Marquette 61: Fran McCaffrey won his 350th career game and Peter Jok scored 20 to lead six players in double figures for the Hawkeyes
Jarrod Uthoff scored 15 points, Anthony Clemmons 11, Mike Gesell 11, Adam Woodbury 10 and Dom Uhl 10 for Iowa (3-0).
McCaffery (350-252) also won his 99th at Iowa (99-75) in his sixth season since being named head coach in 2010.
Marquette (1-2) scored the first eight points of the second half to cut its deficit to 48-29, but Iowa countered with its own 8-0 run.
Temple 75, Minnesota 70: Devin Coleman scored 12 of his 15 points in the final seven minutes, and Temple rallied in the opening game of the Puerto Rico Tipoff.
Jaylen Bond finished with 19 points to lead the Owls (1-1), who regrouped after going 61/2 minutes without a basket with a run that finally put them ahead for good.
The Gophers (2-1) used a 17-2 run to erase a nine-point deficit and go up 56-50 and seize momentum. But Coleman’s 3-pointer ended the drought and started the 15-2 run that put Temple back in front.
Josh Brown went 4-for-4 at the foul line in the final 25 seconds to keep the Owls in control, giving them their first win after almost a week off following a season-opening loss to top-ranked North Carolina.
Nate Mason scored a career-high 20 points to lead Minnesota.
(At) St. John’s 61, Rutgers 59: Federico Mussini and Yankuba Sima scored 13 points each and St. John’s recovered from a 16-point, second-half deficit.
The Red Storm trailed 45-29 with 14:04 left but rallied and improved to 3-0 under first-year head coach Chris Mullin. Ron Mvouika added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Mussini’s free throws tied it 58-all with 2:31 left, and Mvouika’s free throws gave them a 60-59 lead with 1:18 left.
Rutgers (2-1) had possession in the final 15.9 seconds, still trailing by 1. But Bishop Daniels lost control near midcourt after getting bumped by Felix Balamou. Rutgers’ Corey Sanders recovered but tripped and turned it over to Christian Jones, who drew the foul. Jones made 1 of 2 free throws.
Daniels, who made a 3-pointer that was waived off for coming after the buzzer, finished with 21 points. Mike Williams added 13.
(At) Nebraska 75, Delaware State 60: Shavon Shields scored 21 points, Andrew White III added 20 and the Cornhuskers (2-1) hung on after blowing most of a 25-point lead during a second-half lull.
DeAndre Haywood and Todd Hughes led the Hornets (0-3) with 11 points apiece. Haywood scored nine as Delaware State went on a 19-0 run — helped by Nebraska committing five turnovers and missing six straight shots — to get within 63-59.
Nebraska converted Delaware State’s 17 turnovers into 24 points and held a 34-27 rebounding advantage.
(At) Michigan 92, Xavier 54: Katelynn Flaherty scored 19 and fellow sophomore Jillian Dunston recorded her first career double-double (10 points, 14 rebounds) for the Wolverines, who built a 29-point halftime lead after holding the Musketeers to just six second-quarter points.
Madison Ristovski, Nicole Munger and Hallie Thome added 13, 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Michigan (3-0). It held a 42-25 advantage in rebounds.
Raeshaun Gaffney scored 15 for Xavier (1-1).
(At) Central Michigan 82, Middle Tennessee 59: Tinara Moore made 10 of 13 shots en route to 24 points to lead the Chippewas, who outscored the visitors, 27-10, in the fourth quarter to lock up the win.
Presley Hudson and Da’Jourie Turner added 12 and 11 points, respectively, for Central Michigan (3-0).
Ty Petty scored 13 to lead three in double figures for Middle Tennessee (0-2).