By: Nick McGill
Despite the snowy conditions in Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon, Xavier fans still made their way to Cintas Center for the Musketeers’ game against the Bowling Green Falcons. Xavier barely escaped the visiting Falcons in an 85-73 win in overtime, snapping a three-game losing steak.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams with seven lead changes. As Xavier struggled to take control of the game in the first half, freshman forward Jalen Reynolds added a spark to the offense with an explosive alley-oop dunk assisted by freshman guard Brandon Randolph. After a brief Falcon response to Xavier’s small run, sophomore James Farr scored seven straight points to give his team an eight-point lead. Due to costly turnovers and inconsistent rebounding, Xavier allowed the Falcons to finish the first half on a 12-0 run to gain a 33-29 lead.
The second half again proved to be a game of runs. After the Musketeers tied the game at 37, sophomore Semaj Christon scored six points during a 10-2 Xavier run. However, Bowling Green would not back down pulling together a 13-2 run of its own and eventually gathered a 68-66 lead with six ticks left on the clock.
Christon saved the Musketeers by hitting two clutch free throws to tie the game and send it into overtime when Xavier finally took over the game. Freshman guard Myles Davis hit two three-pointers in overtime to give the Musketeers the momentum needed to pull away from the Falcons. Xavier overpowered Bowling Green in overtime and finished the game with an 85-73 victory.
Christon led the offensive attack for Xavier, scoring 22 points while finally having more success at the free throw line, hitting 12 of 16. Farr scored a career-high 15 points and led the team with nine rebounds. Junior guard Dee Davis also contributed, tallying four steals and team-leading eight assists. Stat-lines from this year’s games show that Xavier should have been able to easily handle the Falcons, but poor execution in a few key areas made the battle for a victory a little more challenging.
Xavier again struggled to establish itself on the board, allowing Bowling Green to gather 14 offensive rebounds and tally 19 second chance points, while Xavier recorded only five offensive rebounds and two second chance points.
The Musketeers also committed far too many turnovers. The team’s average of 14.1 turnovers per game ranks in the bottom 25 percent in the country and is up from Xavier’s average from last year. The Musketeers continue to thrive on their ability to rely on many different players to score. Four players scored in double digits, and all but one player who saw playing time recorded points. Xavier looks forward to big games against University of Cincinnati and Alabama.
The Musketeers came from behind to defeat the University of Evansville 63-60 last night at Cintas Center.
Junior center Matt Stainbrook recorded a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds, while Christon led the way with 19 points, knocking down 13 of 17 from the free throw line.