Xavier was able to improve to 7-3 in Atlantic 10 play after defeating Fordham 79-66. The Musketeers were able to seal the victory with good free throw shooting and balanced scoring with 5 players scoring in double figures.
The Musketeers were able to start the game on a quick 4-0 run, but that success didn't last long as Fordham was able to counter Xavier's run with a more impressive run that gave the Rams the lead. Branden Frazier kept Fordham's 11-1 run going by hitting two deep threes to give the Rams a 15-8 lead with 13:05 left in the first half. A hop-step layup by Semaj ended the run and cut the Xavier's deficit to five.
After some back and forth scoring by both teams, Xavier went on a 14-2 run that helped the Musketeers to regain the lead. Semaj scored six points during the run and was a major reason why Xavier was able to continue the run. Martin scored 5 points during the run as Xavier was poised to go into halftime leading 38-28. However, poor execution by the Musketeers down the stretch allowed Luka Zivkovic to hit a three at the buzzer to cut the Xavier lead to 38-32 at half.
Travion Leonard hit a layup for Fordham to start the half and cut the Musketeers lead to four. The Rams went into a 2-3 zone on defense, but switched back to man quickly after a made three by Justin Martin. Xavier was able to extend their lead back to double digits after another made three by Martin from Dee Davis put the Musketeers up 48-38 with 13:17 left in the second half.
Back to back dunks from Jeff Robinson and Semaj Christon gave Xavier a huge momentum lift. The dunks capped off an 8-0 for the Musketeers as their lead was extended to 56-42. Two made free throws by Landen Amos with 5:56 left in the game gave Xavier the biggest lead of the game at 61-46.
Fordham refused to go away down fifteen. A 6-0 run by the Rams brought the Musketeers lead back within single digits at 61-54. Mandell Thomas hit a 3 during the run along with 3 made free throws by Branden Frazier, which were his first points since halftime. Thomas continued to keep Fordham in the game by hitting couple of big shots, but in the end Xavier's free throw shooting was too much as the Musketeers were able to seal the game.
Xavier had well balanced scoring with 5 players scoring double figures. Semaj led the team with 19 points and 5 assists. Justin Martin finished with 16 points. Travis Taylor, Dee Davis, and Jeff Robinson all finished with 10 points. Taylor also finished with 9 rebounds. The Musketeers shot 73% from the free throw line going 18/24 in the second half alone to help seal the win.
Fordham was led in scoring by freshman Mandell Thomas who finished with 23 points. Branden Frazier was next in scoring with 11 points.
Xavier was able to out rebound their opponent for the 11th straight game, outrebounding the Rams 35-27.
Xavier is back in action Saturday on the road against rival Dayton. The game is set to tip off at 12:00 P.M.