By: Nick McGill ~Sports Editor~
Xavier men’s basketball team continued its home dominance defeating the DePaul Blue Demons Jan. 24 at Cintas Center.
After scoring the first basket of the game on an assist from senior center Matt Stainbrook to senior guard Dee Davis, the Musketeer defense struggled to stop the surging Blue Demons.
Xavier allowed DePaul to shoot 19-30 from the field and 11-19 from 3-point range while struggling in the opening minutes to score.
Physical play was present from the beginning with freshman guard J.P. Macura getting tangled up in a push fight, resulting in a technical for both Macura and sophomore guard Darrick Wood for DePaul.
To close out the first half, Xavier had surges from sophomore guard Myles Davis and freshman forward Trevon Bluiett, who both went into the half with double-digit scoring.
Capitalizing on good field goal shooting and DePaul turnovers, Xavier entered the half giving up a colossal 50 points but trailing by only eight points, 50-42.
Before the final buzzer of the half, sophomore forward Jalen Reynolds was whistled for Xavier’s second technical foul. Cintas erupted in disapproval at the call by the official.
The Musketeer defense finally buckled down and played good defense at the start of the second half.
The defense forced five DePaul missed shots in the first three minutes. It didn’t take long for the Blue Demon defense to realize that the tandem of Bluiett and Davis would be near impossible to stop.
Bluiett and Davis exploded to propel Xavier to a 20-5 run that firmly took the lead.
DePaul could not get within five points, and the game ended giving Xavier another double digit victory, 89-76.
Myles Davis led the team in scoring (25) and rebounding (8) closely followed by Bluiett (21, 4) and Stainbrook (17, 7).
Xavier’s balanced and efficient scoring attack led to another high scoring performance.
Ultimately, the defense is what kept Xavier in the game.
The Musketeers turned DePaul over on more than a quarter of the Blue Demons’ possessions.
Defense always turns to offense, and Xavier had many opportunities to score 17 points off turnovers.
Efficient scoring inside saved the Musketeers as the shot poorly from the 3-point and free throw lines.
Late on Jan. 27, Xavier finished a road game against the Georgetown Hoyas. After jumping out to a quick lead the Musketeers never looked back.
The ways have seemed to change for the Xavier defense as it excelled on defense against the bigger Hoya team.
Xavier forced seven turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game.
In the second half, Xavier continued to rely on defense to hold off its opponent.
The Hoyas made a run to bring the game back within double digits, but the Musketeers ultimately won 66-53.
The win was Xavier’s first Big East road win and possibly a turning point for the team’s success on the road this season.
The Musketeers next return to action and look for a second consecutive road win as they travel to South Orange, N.J., on Jan. 31 to face the Seton Hall Pirates.