Xavier dominates rival Cincinnati 64-47
CINCINNATI (AP) — Justin Martin matched his career high with 17 points, and Xavier hit 11 3-pointers and dominated its crosstown rival on the boards for a 64-47 victory on Saturday night.
Xavier (8-3) led the whole way, pulling ahead by 21 points in the first half and keeping the lead in double digits the rest of the way. The Musketeers won despite missing top scorer Semaj Christon for most of the game because of foul trouble.
Sean Kilpatrick scored 17 points for Cincinnati (7-2), which went 10 minutes without a field goal in the second half. The Musketeers went 11 of 16 from beyond the arc and dominated the boards 33-20.
Xavier has won five of its last seven against Cincinnati.
The Bearcats had won 18 in a row at the downtown arena where the game has been played the last two seasons after Xavier’s 20-point win on its home court ended in a brawl two years ago. Four players from each team were suspended.
The annual game was moved off-campus for two years. They haven’t decided whether to keep playing it downtown.
The Bearcats won last year’s game 60-45 with Kilpatrick scoring 18 of his 25 points in the second half. Cincinnati was trying to get back-to-back wins in the series for the first time since 1995-96.
They never even came close.
The Bearcats scored only 20 points in the first half of a 64-54 loss at New Mexico a week ago. They had a horrid opening half against their crosstown rival this week.
Xavier hit its first three shots from beyond the arc and four of its first five overall for an 11-4 lead. Christon, the Musketeers’ leading scorer, picked up his second foul on a charge with 13:25 left and headed to the bench. He also sat out much of the second half of last year’s game with leg cramps.
The Musketeers pulled away without him.
Martin and Myles Davis hit back-to-back 3s as Xavier pulled out to a 24-10 lead with 7:19 left in the half. At that point, Cincinnati had more turnovers (5) than field goals (4). The Bearcats missed 13 of their first 17 shots.
Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin got a technical foul for arguing that Martin had traveled before he was fouled. Martin hit the two free throws for the technical and two more for the foul, pushing the lead to 33-14. Matt Stainbrook’s two free throws then pushed the lead to 21 points.
Kilpatrick’s 3-pointer with 3 seconds left cut it to 41-25 at halftime, the most points Cincinnati had allowed in any half this season. It matched Xavier’s season high for a half. And the Musketeers did it with Christon playing only 6 minutes. Christon started the second half and went right back to the bench after getting his third foul, also on a charge, with 16:53 to go.
Cincinnati turned up the defensive pressure and forced six turnovers early in the second half but couldn’t get the deficit under 10 points. Kilpatrick was Cincinnati’s only consistent scoring threat.
Christon hit back-to-back 3s with the shot clock running down, rebuilding Xavier’s lead to 57-38 with 9:45 to go. Christon then picked up his fourth foul, but Xavier held on.