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Xavier shakes off slow start to rout Siena

Musketeers defeat Saints 81-63 to advance to 2-0

NCAA Basketball: Siena at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

It took about ten minutes for Xavier to get its act together.

After a slow start led to Siena leading for much of the first ten minutes of the game, a 14-1 Musketeer run turned a 15-12 Saint lead into a 26-16 Xavier advantage. The Musketeers did not relinquished their lead the rest of the way, in route to an 81-63 victory over their MAAC foe.

Xavier’s imminent victory was apparent for much of the second half. After leading 42-33 at halftime, a quick Siena three cut its deficit down to six just seconds into the second the half. That was as close as the Saints would get, as much of the second half was played with the Xavier lead around 20.

Xavier’s Tyrique Jones and Naji Marshall led the game with 20 points a piece. The senior forward Jones added six boards and two blocks in just 20 minutes while the junior forward Marshall added eight boards and seven assists in 32 minutes.

Notre Dame transfer Elijah Burns led the Saints with 19 points. MAAC Preseason Player of the Year Jalen Pickett added 18 points, five rebounds, and two assists.

Xavier welcomes Missouri to Cintas Center Tuesday, Nov. 12. The game tips at 7 pm and will be televised on CBSSN. The Tigers defeated Northern Kentucky Friday night to advance to 2-0 on the young season.

Game Notes

  • Junior guard Paul Scruggs sat out with a knee injury suffered during Tuesday’s opener against Jacksonville. He is expected to be able to play against Missouri.
  • Former walk-on Leighton Schrand made his second consecutive start for the Musketeers in Scruggs’ absence. Schrand tallied one and three rebounds in 21 minutes. Ohio transfer Jason Carter made his first start and added nine points, one assist, and one steal in 16 minutes.
  • Sophomore forward Dontarius James played a career-high 15 minutes, hitting one three and grabbing two boards.
  • Siena’s Sammy Friday IV lost his cool in the second half, picking up a technical and an intentional foul over a two-and-a-half minute stretch. Xavier hit all three FTs from the fouls to help extend a 15 point lead up to 23.
  • Pickett, ninth nationally in assists in 2018-19, was curiously used mostly off of the ball for much of the game. The sophomore guard finished 7-12 from the field while dishing out two assists with a turnover. Sophomore guard Don Carey played point in Pickett’s stead and shot only 3-10 from the field with only one assist and three turnovers.
  • Xavier Coach Travis Steele announced Thursday that freshman forward Dionte Miles elected to redshirt this season. Two other freshman, guard Kyky Tandy and forward Daniel Ramsey, have not appeared due to a injury.