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Muskies open with a victory

Muskies open with a victory

 The Xavier men's basketball team topped Gardner-Webb 83-59 in their home opener Friday night at Cintas Center. Four Musketeers scored in double figures to beat the Runnin' Bulldogs.

It was a slow start for the Musketeers, as Gardner-Webb scored the game's first seven points. A three-pointer by sophomore Semaj Christon put Xavier on the board with 14:53 to go in the first half. Xavier obtained its first lead of the game on an Isaiah Philmorelayup with 10:17 left. The Musketeers were able to take advantage of several Gardner-Webb fouls late in the first half, scoring three points off of foul shots in the last nine seconds.

Heading into the locker room, Xavier had a 41-22 lead. At the half, Christon led the team in scoring with 11 points. The Musketeers ended the first half shooting 50 percent (12-of-24), while the Runnin' Bulldogs shot 30.8 percent (8-of-26). Xavier's long-range shot came up big in the first half, shooting 57.1 percent (4-of-7). Gardner-Webb was not as successful, only hitting one of six.

In the second half, Xavier continued to add to the lead. The Musketeers never allowed Gardner-Webb within 14 points. Freshman Brandon Randolph helped the cause with a rebound and a fast-break layup with 10:12 left in the game. The Musketeers went on a 7-0 run in a span of 1:21. During that run, sophomore James Farr created some noise in the Cintas Center with a three-pointer with 7:53 to go. Breaking through the press, Christon threw up an alley-oop to freshman Jalen Reynolds, who finished with a two-handed dunk with 2:59 left to play.

Xavier's final stat line included a field goal percentage of 52.8 percent (28-of-53). The Musketeers shot 50 percent (5-of-10) from behind the arc, while shooting 55 percent (22-of-40) from the charity stripe. Gardner-Webb shot 40.4 percent (21-of-52), 18.2 percent (2-of-11) from three-point territory, and 57.7 percent (15-of-26) on free throws. The Musketeers won the rebounding battle 45-27, 13 of which came on the offensive glass. Xavier also had big help from its bench, which resulted in 29 points.

Stainbrook and Christon again led the Musketeers to victory. Stainbrook notched his first double-double in a Xavier uniform, making four of his six shots from the field to score 14 with 12 rebounds. Christon had four assists and three rebounds to go along with his 13 points.

Randolph and Farr also had big games. Randolph added 12 points, seven assists, and three rebounds. Farr made four of his five shots to score 10. He also contributed with nine rebounds.

Senior Erik Stengeralso contributed to the Xavier win with nine points and four rebounds.

After running into foul trouble in the first half, Philmore scored six of his eight points in the second half.

Junior Donta Harper led the Runnin' Bulldogs in points, scoring 20. Tyrell Nelson and Jerome Hill each had five rebounds.

 

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