January 25, 2015 Louisville, KY (Analyzed Sports)
Musketeers overcome slow start, stay unbeaten at home
Myles Davies (25), Trevon Bluiett (21), and Matt Stainbrook (17) combined for 63 points as the Xavier Musketeers stay unbeaten at home after defeating the Depaul Blue Demons 89 -76 at the Cintas Center Saturday afternoon in front of a rowdy crowd of 10,250.
Xavier had to overcome a slow start and a 13 point deficit to extend its home steak to 11-0 this season. The DePaul Blue Demons were coming into the contest tied for first place in the Big East Conference at 5-2 and had already beaten Xavier in Chicago on January 3rd 71-68. The Blue Demons started out in the Cintas Center on fire, building a 16-9 lead while shooting over 60% from the field and 50% from 3 point range. The Musketeers couldn’t find the range from deep to match the Blue Demons hot start, so they relied on attacking the paint and getting to the free throw line to stay in the game.
After a Double Technical Foul was called on J.P Macura and Darrick Wood for shoving each other, this seemed to spark the Blue Demons as they used a 13- 6 run to build a 31 -18 lead at the 8:43 mark in the first half. This would be the largest lead of the game, and the largest deficit Xavier had ever trailed in any game.
Coach Chris Mack called time out. Xavier then turned up its defense to create back to back baskets off of 2 steals, but would still find itself down 8 points 34-26 with 6:36 remaining in the first half. As the crowd begin to get back into the game, Davis and Bluiett’s assertiveness helped cut the Blue Demons lead to 37-33 with 3:44 remaining in the 1st half. Myles Davis led the Musketeers in scoring with 11pts 2rebs. With the game back in reach and the crowd in a frenzy Aaron Simpson would hit a fade away three in the corner with the shot clock at zero to extend the Blue Demons lead back to 7. Darrick Wood’s runner in the lane would put Depaul up nine 42-33 with 2:49 remaining in the first half. The first half with end with a technical foul called on Xavier’s forward Jalen Reynold’s and the Musketeers down 8 points 50 – 42.
“It seems like (playing from behind) is a recurring theme with us,” Bluiett said. “But the biggest thing that Coach told us was that we’ve got to move on. We can’t (hang) our heads. I think it kind of carried over in the first half because they were outplaying us…but I think after halftime we were more relaxed and just forgot about everything and just started fresh.”
DePaul opened the 2nd half at the free throw line from the technical foul called on Jalen Reynolds at the end of the first half. After Depaul’s Billy Garrett Jr. went 1-2 from the free throw line, the Musketeers would use a 10-4 run to force a Blue Demons timeout with the score sitting at 54-52 in DePaul’s favor with 16:38 remaining in the game.
The Blue Demons would cool off in the second half from three-point range, and Xavier would continue to move the ball beautifully as they would finish the game with 19 assists as a team. At the 16:00 mark in the 2nd half the crowd would be the loudest of the game as Trevon Bluiett’s three assist by Remy Abell would give the Musketeers its first lead of the game at 55-54. The Blue Demons forward Jamee Crockett would hit another timely 3 to quiet the crowd to put DePaul back up two 57-55 with 15:30 remaining in the game. Xavier’s Myles Davis would go to work using his career high of 25 points to put the Musketeers up on the Blue Demons 62 – 57 with 14:24 remaining in the game.
“We woke up, plain and simple. They were out-playing us,” sophomore guard Myles Davis said. “They were playing much harder than us and it was about time that we got it together, woke up and started playing Xavier basketball.”
The Xavier defense would help extend the lead to ten 80 -70 with 4:12 remaining in the game. The Final Score would be 89-76, a 13 point win which was the same amount of points Xavier had to rally from in the first half. The Musketeers defense would hold the Blue Demons to 26 points in the 2nd half.
“We played with more energy, they got less looks and their looks were a little more rushed because of the effort we gave in the second half versus the first half,” Xavier’s coach Chris Mack said.
DePaul will travel to Providence to take on the Friars on Jan. 27, while Xavier will travel to Georgetown to take on the Hoyas on Jan. 27.
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