Musketeers dominate Fordham in 79-66 victory

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CINCINNATI – The Musketeers pulled off their second straight win by defeating the Fordham Rams 79-66 Wednesday night at Cintas Center. Five players scored in double figures, with freshman Semaj Christon leading the way with a game-high 19 points and five assists.

Xavier improve its overall record to 14-9 and 7-3 in the Atlantic 10, while Fordham drops its fifth game in a row and slip to 6-19 overall and 2-8 in conference play. The Musketeers are now 23-2 in the all-time series against the Rams and have won the last 11 meetings.

Justin Martin gave XU the 48-38 lead with 13:17 left in the second half after he knocked down a quick three from the top of the arc. Martin finished with 16 points including 3-of-3 from behind the arc. The last time Martin dropped two or more long balls was against Drake on November 25.

XU used an 8-0 run lasting 1:49 to take a commanding 56-42 lead with 8:13 left in the second half. During the span Jeff Robinson threw a powerful one-hand jam while getting fouled. Then on the next possession, Christon stole the pass and took it to the hoop for the break-away dunk.

Xavier was never severely threatened by Fordham in the second half. The Musketeers shot 47.9 percent from the field for the game while holding the Rams to 41.2 percent. XU had several trips to the free throw line making 27 of its 37 attempts from the charity stripe. Xavier set new season-highs in free throws made and attempted.

The Musketeers ended the game on a 10-3 run lasting 1:46. The run was highlighted by a break-away dunk by Landen Amos, his first career field goal made. Amos finished with a career-high five points and a career-high five rebounds.

Christon has scored in double figures 19 times this season and also in 11 straight games. He has also made seven or more free throws in five games.

Robinson and Travis Taylor each ended with 10 points apiece, while Taylor had a team-high nine boards. Dee Davis was the fifth player in double figures with 10 points to go along with his four assists and only one turnover. The last time XU had five players in double figures was against Drake on November 25, 2012.

Xavier ended the first half leading the Rams 38-32. This was the Musketeers highest first half total since the season opener against Fairleigh Dickinson when they dropped 68 points. Christon led all scorers with 10 points along with two assists in the opening half.

The Musketeers found themselves down early 17-10 with 11:51 left in the first half. To that point XU was shooting 27.3 percent from the field with three turnovers. The Rams were able to draw five quick fouls on the Musketeers, two of which were on Davis.

Xavier regained the 26-25 lead with 6:37 remaining in the half after Martin stole the ball and went coast-to-coast to make the off balance layup. XU continued on an 11-0 run lasting 3:40. During the stretch the Musketeers fired 4-for-7 from the field and made 3-of-4 free throws.

Xavier travels up I-75 to face in-state rival Dayton Saturday, February 16. A noon tipoff is scheduled and can be viewed on ESPN2. Stay tuned to for the latest news to men’s basketball.

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