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December 21, 2013

Muskies Pick Up Road Win, 77-74, over Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Isaiah Philmore had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead Xavier to a come-from-behind 77-74 victory over Alabama on Saturday night.

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Matt Stainbrook added 17 points, Dee Davis 12 and Myles Davis 10 for the Musketeers (9-3).

Retin Obasohan nailed a 3-pointer to pull the Crimson Tide to within 75-74 with 4 seconds remaining, but Dee Davis made two free throws with 2 seconds left.

''That's something we practice every day,'' Dee Davis said about making the clutch foul shots. ''I just stepped up to the line and shot them like everybody else.''

Trevor Releford led Alabama (5-6) with 17 points. Shannon Hale, coming off the bench, had 14, and Levi Randolph 13. Rodney Cooper grabbed eight rebounds.

Behind 44-32 at the 16:25 mark, Xavier outscored Alabama 29-17 to tie the game at 61 on a field goal and free throw by Stainbrook with 5 minutes left and then take the lead 63-61 on a layup by Dee Davis with 4:40 to go. The Musketeers maintained the lead the rest of the way and hung on to win their fourth straight game and 11 of their last 15 against SEC competition going back to 2008.

''I thought we were a much different team on the offensive end in the second half,'' Xavier coach Chris Mack said. ''I don't feel like our guys ever felt that we were out of it. You could see us coming together.''

Stainbrook agreed with his coach.

''We stuck together,'' he said. ''We really started to play defense. We strung together a couple of stops and pushed (it) down (the court) and that enabled us to catch up.''

With the score tied at 10 at 13:31 of the first half, Alabama went on a 14-5 run to jump in front 24-15 when Nick Jacobs made a field goal with 5:32 left. Myles Davis made a 3-point shot to pull the Musketeers back to within 26-22 at 3:49, but with 1:50 left a 3-pointer by Randolph pushed the Crimson Tide's lead back to 31-22, matching its largest lead of the first half. Alabama led at halftime 33-26.

''In the second half they completely changed the complexion of the game from about the 12-minute mark on,'' stated Alabama coach Anthony Grant. ''They scored on nine of their last 10 possessions. Our defense tonight wasn't good enough to beat a team as talented as they were.''

Xavier shot 33.3 percent from the floor in the first half but 45.5 percent in the second half, made only 1 of 8 free throws in the first half but 4 of 7 in the second half and made 17 free throws in the second half compared to five in the first half.

Alabama's Randolph said that the difference in the second half was that ''they were able to get put-backs, rebounds and were able to get to the (free-throw)

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