Xavier Takes Down Providence, 59-53

Martin finished with 13 points, three rebounds and two assists in the win.

Martin finished with 13 points, three rebounds and two assists in the win.

Feb. 8, 2014

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CINCINNATI - The Xavier Musketeers took down the Providence Friars, 59-53, Saturday afternoon at Cintas Center. The trio of Matt Stainbrook, Justin Martin and Semaj Christoncombined for 38 points to give Xavier sole possession of third place in the BIG EAST. The Musketeers improve to 16-7 on the year and 6-4 in BIG EAST play. The Friars fall to 16-8 overall (6-5 BIG EAST).

Stainbrook and Martin led the team with 13 points apiece. Stainbrook was one rebound shy of his third straight double-double and also had five assists. Nine of Martin's points came in the second half. He also grabbed three boards and two assists. Martin has now scored in double figures in nine of ten BIG EAST games.

Christon scored 12 points, two rebounds and three assists. He converted 6-of 8 free throws.

The game was hotly contested through the first 20 minutes, as there were seven ties and six lead changes. The largest lead for both Xavier and Providence in the first half was only five points. Xavier defense held the Friars scoreless from 18:12 until 11:31 en route to an 8-0 run to take a 10-8 lead. Stainbrook and Christon combined for 16 of Xavier's 31 first-half points. Josh Fortune scored 9 of Providence's last 11 points to end the half, as the Friars took a 32-31 lead into the locker room.

It was a different story in the second half, as the Musketeers brought the intensity to start the second frame. Xavier burst to a 9-0 run to give a 40-34 lead which included a Martin one-and-one. That lead was never relinquished for the rest of the half. Despite being held scoreless for almost seven minutes from 8:21 until 1:00 remaining, Xavier maintained the lead by grinding it out and only giving up five points to Providence during that stretch.

The Friars cut the lead to one on a LaDontae Henton free throw with 1:22 remaining, but that would be as close as they would come. Christon's steal and assist to a dunk by Isaiah Philmorewith 47 second left proved to be the difference maker, and the Musketeers finished with a 59-53 victory.

Philmore also came close to a double-double, scoring eight points and grabbing eight rebounds. Myles Daviswas an important factor off the bench, scoring seven points including a three-pointer.

Xavier's final stat line included a 43.4 (23-of-53) field goal percentage. They also made 12-of-17 (70.6 percent) from the charity stripe. Overall, the Friars shot a 37.5 field goal percentage (21-of-56), making 6-of-19 (31.6 percent) from behind the arc.

Xavier took advantage of Providence's 11 turnovers by converting for 13 points off of them. The team finished with 16 assists on 23 made shots. Xavier also scored 36 points in the paint to Providence's 20. The Musketeers' six turnovers tied its fewest on the season.

Fortune was Providence's leading scorer, with 17 points, a career high. He also had eight rebounds and three assists. Henton chipped in with 14 points and six rebounds. Xavier held guard Bryce Cotton to only nine points. Two weeks ago, he scored 25 to defeat Xavier in Providence.

The Musketeers will play four of the next five games on the road, with the first being against the Butler Bulldogs in Indianapolis, Ind. on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 9:00 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1. Xavier defeated Butler 79-68 at Cintas Center on Jan. 4.