No. 5 Xavier 72, Delaware St. 41

A little sloppy. A little tired. Playing its second game in 24

hours, No. 5 Xavier had to get through that blah feeling to get

rolling again.

A little bit of Amber Harris was quite enough.

Harris scored 23 points in only 24 minutes on Saturday, and the

Musketeers eased their way to their second straight lopsided win,

72-41 over Delaware State.

Xavier (5-0) won for the third time in five days. The Musketeers

were coming off a 99-37 win over Troy on Friday afternoon, their

most lopsided victory in 28 years. They looked a little off when

they took the court, missing easy shots at the outset.

”It’s just about having energy, being ready to play

back-to-back,” Harris said.

Coach Kevin McGuff doesn’t accept the two-games-in-two-days

excuse for sloppiness.

”And I don’t ever want my team to think that’s OK,” McGuff

said. ”Our job is to show up and be ready when it’s tipped, to

have the right intensity and focus.

”Once we started playing with more intensity, we kind of

imposed our will on them and got the game going the way we

wanted.”

The Musketeers played both games without top 3-point shooter

Katie Rutan, resting a sore left ankle. She’s expected back next

week. Xavier plays at home against Mississippi Valley State on

Tuesday and against Southern California on Thursday.

”We could give her a little more rest, but I think she’ll play

this coming week,” McGuff said.

Xavier’s front-line duo dominated again. Center Ta’Shia Phillips

had a career-high 29 points and 18 rebounds against Troy. Harris

led the way against Delaware State (1-3), scoring 19 points in the

first half.

”They’re special players,” McGuff said. ”They play incredibly

well together, and that’s what they’re supposed to do. They’re as

good as anybody in the country. We need them to be able to do that

on a daily basis.”

Junior guard Tyeasha Moss had nine points and seven assists,

working in an offense that made the extra pass and finished with 21

assists. Xavier’s backcourt is deeper this season and taking

advantage when defenses clamp down inside on Harris and

Phillips.

”We have a little bit of everything,” Moss said of the guards.

”We have great shooters, great dribblers, great defenders. We have

everything we need. We just mesh together.”

Xavier opened the season with three challenging games – at South

Carolina and Michigan, followed by Louisville at home last Tuesday.

McGuff didn’t get to use his newcomers very much, but gave them

plenty of playing time the last two days.

Against Troy, the Musketeers opened with a 24-0 run and didn’t

let up, leading 56-13 at halftime. Playing less than 24 hours

later, they were a little ragged after pulling ahead of Delaware

State 24-9. The Musketeers led 37-17 at the half.

Xavier was at its best to open the second half. Phillips and

Harris alternated baskets, Moss hit a 3 and point guard Special

Jennings knocked the ball loose and drove for a layup that

completed an 11-0 run. Xavier soon rested its starters.