NCAA BK

Xavier beats Abilene Christian 93-65

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CINCINNATI (AP)

Matt Stainbrook led Xavier's dominant inside game, and Myles Davis made 5 of his 7 shots from beyond the arc Monday night, helping Xavier pull away to a 93-65 victory over Abilene Christian.

Xavier (5-0) completed an opening stretch of five home games that included a victory over Tennessee. The Musketeers leave for the Bahamas and a tournament that opens with a game against No. 23 Iowa.

Xavier is 178-25 overall in 14 seasons at the Cintas Center, including 87-12 against nonconference teams.

Stainbrook had nine points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Davis finished with 15 points. Semaj Christian scored 17 points and had six assists as Xavier pushed the pace, got fast-break baskets and finished with a season high in points.

Harrison Hawkins scored 15 for Abilene Christian (2-6).

The Musketeers were without senior forward Erik Stenger, who had a stomach virus. Stenger started three of the first four games. Even without their usual depth, the Musketeers dominated inside, scoring 50 points in the paint and getting a 45-21 advantage in rebounds.

The Wildcats are playing their first season in Division I and going through the expected growing pains. They lost their first five games before beating Western New Mexico and Northern New Mexico in a tournament over the weekend.

Abilene Christian hasn't beaten a Division I school since its 93-89 win over Pepperdine on Dec. 3, 1984.

The Wildcats' three-guard offense kept up until their shots stopped falling in the second half and Xavier pushed the pace after getting the rebound. Davis hit a pair of 3s and Christon had a fast-break dunk that built the lead to 26 points midway through the second half.

From the start, Xavier got the ball inside for layups. The Musketeers made their first six shots, only one of them by a guard. Stainbrook made a pair of driving lay-ins off passes from guards for a 14-8 lead.

Free throw shooting has been a problem for the Musketeers, who came in shooting only 60 percent from the line. They were only 5 of 11 in the opening half, preventing them from pulling into a comfortable lead. Xavier finished 21 of 36 on free throws.

The Wildcats' biggest problem: They simply didn't measure up inside. Stainbrook had a putback and Christon had a fast-break layup and a dunk during an 11-0 run that pushed the lead to 25-13. The Wildcats went more than seven minutes without a field goal and missed 12 of their first 16 shots overall.

Xavier extended its defense to take away the 3-pointer, and the Wildcats drove past them for a series of layups that kept it close. Stainbrook's tip with 10 seconds left gave Xavier a 39-31 halftime lead.

Xavier took control with another 11-point run early in the second half. Point guard Brandon Randolph got the rebound off his miss while standing among four defenders and put it back in for a basket that completed the spurt and made it 53-37.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

Tagged: Xavier, Matt Stainbrook

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