Xavier opened up Atlantic 10 play with a hard fought victory over the Temple Owls. The Musketeers were on a four game losing streak before pulling out a win tonight, 57-52.
Temple started the game by going on a quick 4-0 run. After a layup in transition by Cummings, Xavier was able to gain control and tie the game. Jeff Robinson scored the Musketeers next 4 points stopping the Owls quick run.
After a made 3 pointer by Scootie Randall, Xavier went on a 7-0 run which was highlighted by a Semaj finish in transition with the assist from Dee. Xavier led 11-7 with 14:49 left in the first half. Scootie would hit his second of three three's in the first half to stop Xavier's run and pull the Owls within one point. At the 7:14 mark, Dee Davis would leave the game with a left wrist injury, he would not return until 1:00 left in the second half.
Semaj would spur the offense for the Musketeers the rest of the half, hitting a pull up jumper at the free throw line to make the game 16-12. Randall would hit his last of three three's to spark a 5-0 run for the Owls. Semaj had the play of the half at the 4:17 mark. Semaj caught the ball in the corner and pump faked and drove towards the lane. As he approached the lane he threw down a hard one handed dunk that electrified the crowd as Xavier led 24-19.
Brad Redford hit a 3 with 23 seconds left that gave the Musketeers a 5-point lead. Khalif Wyatt hit a jumper from the free throw line as time expired to cut the Xavier lead to 3 at the half at the score of 29-26.
Temple started off the half on fire going on a 9-0 run. A layup by Randall Scootie capped off the run giving the Owls a 35-29 lead with 17:38. In recent games, Xavier has had trouble when teams start the second half on a run, but today's game was different.
The Musketeers fought back and went on a 9-0 run, which was capped off by a Justin Martin floater in transition to tie the game then a 3 pointer to give Xavier the lead at 38-35 with 14:42. A successful hook shot by Anthony Lee stopped the run. The Musketeers would continue to play great defensively and the offense flowed because of it. Xavier went on a 10-0 run in which Brad Redford hit two threes. The Musketeers led 48-37 with 8:45 left in the second half.
Temple refused to go away responding from the 19-2 run with a 9-0 run to propel the Owls back into the game. A made 3 by Jake O'Brien followed by an and-1 layup by Hollis-Jefferson helped Temple to close the lead to 48-46 with 5:39 left in the game.
The rest of the game would be decided by free throws. Jeff Robinson hit two free throws at 5:30 to stop the Temple run and give Xavier some momentum. A layup by Hollis-Jefferson with 1:31 left cut the Musketeers lead to two at 54-52. Travis Taylor would hit one of two free throws to make it a 3-point game. Two missed Dee Davis free throws allowed the Owls with a chance to tie the game. Scootie Randall would miss a 3 with 15 seconds left, as Travis Taylor would be fouled on the rebound. He hit both free throws to seal the game for the Musketeers.
Semaj Christon led all scorers with 16 points. Travis Taylor had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Justin Martin had 10 points, as those were the only Musketeers in double figures. Xavier didn't handle the ball particularly well committing 14 turnovers. The Musketeers were able to outrebound Temple 42-31. Xavier shot 28.6% from 3 and 61.9% from the free throw line.
Temple was led in scoring by Anthony Lee with 15 points. Scootie Randall finished with 13 and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson finished with 11 points. The Owls leading scorer Khalif Wyatt was held to 5 points, which is well below his average. Credit Xavier's defense with holding him to only 5 points.
Xavier returns to action at the Cintas Center on Saturday at 4:00 P.M. against George Washington.