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December 7, 2014BasketballStevens - Alabama - 12-6-14 - (4)

Photo: Bob Stevens – Xavier University – Bench Celebrates

 December 7, 2014 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports)

Bench Play the Difference as Xavier rolls past the Crimson Tide

Coach Chris Mack can normally depend on receiving major contributions from starters Matt Stainbrook, and sensational freshman guard Trevon Bluiett, but with two of his key players battling foul trouble for most of the first half he would have to rely on his bench in hopes to find contributions elsewhere.

Saturday night, at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, OH, the Xavier Musketeers (6-2) snapped their two game losing streak defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide (5-2) 97 – 84 behind the play of its bench. The Musketeers used a 55 – 22 advantage from bench scoring, including the defensive presence of Sean O’Mara and 6 of 9 three-point shooting by J.P. Macura, and Myles Davis to get the W in the win column.

Xavier University

Photo: Bob Stevens – Xavier University / Myles Davis from 3.

“Sean O’Mara, who hasn’t played much this year, In the first half relieved some guys who were in foul trouble. Sean hasn’t played much this year, to be able to come in and play the defense the way that he did, with the intensity that he did, and make his free throws when he got fouled, and to be strong with the basketball when he had the opportunity to catch it, I thought he really really helped our team keep the margin in the first half”. “Myles and J.P. shot the ball extremely well. Those two can heat up in a hurry and their huge energy guys off the bench.” Coach Mack stated after the game.

Three reserves reached double figures for the Musketeers.  Jalen Reynolds had 12 points and 7 rebounds, while J.P. Macura added 13 points including a beautiful three-point make from the corner after being fouled from one of the Alabama defenders. Senior guard Myles Davis had a career high with 18 points.

Xavier University

Photo: Bob Stevens – Xavier University – Remy Abell being Aggressive on Offense

Junior Guard Remy Abell was instrumental in the victory too. He held down the starters for Xavier with his aggressiveness on offense, and by shutting down Alabama’s best player in Levi Randolph in the first half by holding him to 0 points from the field.  Remy finished the basketball game with 12 points, 4 rebounds and a career high of 5 assists.

Coach Mack talked about what Remy provided while the other starters were battling foul trouble: “Remy just does what the team needs him to do. He got us going tonight on both ends of the floor. He’s really hard to guard in transition. He gets to the free-throw line because of it. He generally guards the teams best perimeter player unless it’s the point guard, because we feel really comfortable with Dee doing that. At times if it’s the bigger point guard Remy will play him. “Tonight he had a huge challenge in SEC’s leading scorer Levi Randolph, and Levi didn’t have a point from the field at halftime.”

As a team the Musketeers won the battle on the boards 32 to Alabama’s 22.  They also created 27 points off of Alabama’s 16 turnovers.  Xavier moved and shot the ball extremely well in Saturday nights victory.  22 assists and percentages of 56.6% from the field, while lighting it up from behind the three-point line shooting 52.4% on 11 – 21 shooting.

Ricky Tarrant was 7 -13 from the field, 4 -8 from three, and had a game high 23 points for the Alabama Crimson Tide playing in it’s first true road game on the season. Alabama will travel home to face Tennessee Tech December 13, 2014 at 8pm.

Xavier will be back in the Cintas Center on Tuesday, December 9th against the (2 – 5) IUPUI Jaguars at 7pm.

HIGHLIGHTS COURTESY OF GOXAVIER.COM

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