CINCINNATI - Semaj Christons scored a career-high 28 and canned a pair of three-pointers late in the game to lead Xavier in a tough win over Marquette Thursday night, 86-79.
The Musketeers ended their three-game BIG EAST home stand and extended their win streak to eight straight games while improving to 13-3 on the year (3-0 BIG EAST). The Golden Eagles fell to 9-7 overall (1-2 BIG EAST).
Christon's career-high effort came on 8-for-10 shooting, including 3-for-3 from long-range and 9-of-10 from the charity stripe.
Justin Martin continued his success scoring with his third-straight game in double digits, finishing with 15 points and eight rebounds. Dee Davis added 13 points on the strength of 8-for-9 from the free-throw line. He also added a team-high six assists.
Matt Stainbrook, who played only five minutes in the first half, finished with seven points and eight rebounds.
The second half saw Xavier jump out to 12-point lead using a 6-0 run and four points from Stainbrook to get them there. Marquette countered with an 8-0 run that was capped by Jake Thomas' three with 12:28 left in the half to brought the Golden Eagles within three of XU.Both teams traded baskets and Marquette tied it twice, once at the 7:58 mark with a Davante Gardner layup (60-60) and at the 4:48 mark Deonte Burton jumper (69-69). Christon went on a personal 6-0 run with back-to-back three-point shots from the left wing to help Xavier pull away. The Musketeers hit their free throws down the stretch to close the game.Foul trouble plagued both teams in the first half. Xavier reached the bonus at the 12:43 mark when Jalen Reynoldswas fouled and hit both free throws. Stainbrook committed two fouls early and saw only five minutes of action in the first half. Christon heated up as the half went on, hitting 5-of-6 from the field and going a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. The sophomore finished the half with 17 points and the Musketeers went into the half leading the Golden Eagles, 40-34.Jake Thomas finished with 17 points and five three pointers made, both totals equaling his career highs. Gardner posted a team-high 19 and grabbed a team-high four rebounds. Xavier pounded Marquette on the boards, 39-20, marking a season-low rebound total for Marquette.
The Musketeers will hit the road for the first time since a Dec. 21 contest at Alabama for a 3:00 p.m. tilt against Doug McDermott and Creighton on Sunday, Jan. 12. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.