Men's Basketball Fights Off No. 19/17 Memphis, 64-62

Freshman Semaj Christon chipped in 13 points and dished out five assists in the win over Memphis

Freshman Semaj Christon chipped in 13 points and dished out five assists in the win over Memphis

Feb. 26, 2013

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CINCINNATI - The Xavier men's basketball team held off a furious late-game rally by No. 19/17 Memphis to claim the 64-62 victory Tuesday night at Cintas Center. The Musketeers' win snaps the Tigers' 18-game winning streak and is the first win for XU over a ranked opponent since defeating 20th-ranked Vanderbilt on Nov. 28, 2011. Xavier improves to 16-11 overall while Memphis falls to 24-4 on the year.

Senior Travis Taylor led all scorers with 18 points and tallied the game's only double-double with 10 rebounds. Also for the Musketeers, junior Isaiah Philmore added 15 points while freshman Semaj Christon added 13 points and five assists.

Xavier out-rebounded Memphis, 45-36, and the Musketeers shot 38.3 percent from the floor for the game to the Tigers' 41.4 percent. Neither team shot remarkably well from the free throw line as XU made 55.6 percent of its free shots while UM only connected on 33.3 percent of shots from the charity stripe.

A D.J. Stephens dunk cut the Xavier lead to single digits, 35-26, three-and-a-half minutes into the second half but Taylor returned the favor on XU's next possession. The Tigers' Geron Johnson converted an old-fashioned three-point play to set the score at 37-31 in favor of Xavier with 12:42 remaining. XU built its lead back to 10, 41-31, on the strength of a 4-0 spurt with exactly 12 minutes to go in the game.

An 8-0 Memphis run, including back-to-back 3-point baskets in less than 40 seconds, cut the Xavier lead to two, 41-39, and XU was forced to call timeout. Johnson's 3-point basket at 7:48 knotted the game at 45-all and another long-ball from Johnson gave Memphis its first lead of the second half at 50-49 with 6:25 on the clock.

Senior Brad Redford hit a clutch 3-pointer with just under two minutes left in the game to give XU back the lead, 58-57. With X leading by one, 60-59, Taylor came up with a huge rebound off a missed Memphis three attempt and was fouled, sending him to the line. Memphis turns over after Taylor misses his second attempt with 17.3 seconds to go and Redford gave the home team the four-point advantage, 63-59, with two made shots from the line. Despite a late Memphis basket, Xavier held on for the 64-62 win.

Taylor came out of the gate firing, scoring 11 of the Musketeers' first 14 points of the game to give XU the early 14-8 lead. Back-to-back put backs from Philmore gave Xavier a 10-point lead, 25-15. Xavier was held scoreless for four-and-a-half minutes until a Christon jumper extended the XU lead to 27-15 with just over four minutes to go in the half.

Memphis was able to get out of its own drought, which spanned over 6:30, with a 3-point basket from Joe Jackson. A made free throw from Philmore at the 1:38 mark set the score at 30-18 in favor of Xavier, giving the Musketeers' their largest lead of the half at 12 points. XU went into the locker room enjoying an 11-point lead, 31-20. The Tigers' 20 first-half points were the least they've scored all season.

The Tigers were led by Johnson with 14 points and Tarik Black with nine rebounds.

Xavier returns to action on Saturday, March 2 in its third of four straight home games. The Musketeers will play host to the Massachusetts Minutemen in Atlantic 10 action at XU's Cintas Center. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.