Martin, Christon Power Musketeers Past No. 9/10 Creighton, 75-69
March 1, 2014
CINCINNATI-Xavier energized a standing-room-only Cintas Center crowd by scoring 75-69 victory over the No. 9/10 Creighton BlueJays.
The Musketeers move to 20-9 overall and 10-6 in Big East Conference play. Creighton, which started the day tied for first in the conference with Villanova, slides to 13-3 in the Big East and 23-5 overall.
Xavier earned its first victory over top 10 opponent since the 2007-08 campaign by placing three scorers in double figures for the 11th time this season.
Junior forward Justin Martin (Indianapolis, Ind. / Lawrence North) fueled the winning effort by registering his first career double-double with 19 points and a career-best 16 rebounds, including 15 off the defensive glass. Semaj Christon (Cincinnati, Ohio / Winton Woods) posted his ninth 20-point game of season by knocking in a team-high 21 points and tied his career-best with four steals. Junior guard Dee Davis (Bloomington, Ind./ South) pumped in 15 points going 4-4 from 3-point range.
The Musketeers held a potent Bluejay offense in check with a strong defensive effort. Creighton senior Doug McDermott delivered a game-best 27 points going 9 of 18 from the floor and 5 of 12 from three-point range. He was the only Bluejay to reach double figures in scoring.
Xavier opened the second half on an 11-5 run. Justin Martin hit a 3-pointer with 15:49 left to give the Musketeers a 54-42 lead.
XU led 57-48 with 10:28 to go, but Bluejays cut the XU advantage to 61-58 with a 10-4 run capped by McDermott 3-pointer.
Xavier responded with a 7-2 run though the next 2:14 and led 68-60 with 3:13 left. Davis scored five points during the spurt, including a 3-pointer from the right corner, and freshman forward Jalen Reynolds (Detroit, Mich. / Brewster Academy) closed it out with lay-up. The duo extended the lead to 68-60 with 2:05 remaining when Davis connected on a layup and a Reynolds drained a 3-pointer.
Xavier led 69-60 with 1:59 remaining before Creighton made a final charge that trimmed the Musketeers edge to 71-66 with 12 seconds left. McDermott capped the run with a tip-in.
The Bluejays would get no closer as Xavier's Christon and Martin were solid down the stretch from the free throw line. Each connected on a pair of free throws in the final 11 seconds to seal the Xavier victory.
XU led at the half for the 15th time this season, taking a 43-34 lead into the locker room. Christon led all scorers in the frame with 13 points.
The Musketeers started hot from outside, hitting their first three shots from behind the arc. Martin, Christon and Dee Davis gave Xavier a 9-6 after the first five minutes of the game.
Xavier led 15-12 at the 11:47 mark of the first half. The Musketeers went on a 9-6 run over the next 4:24 to extend the lead to 24-18. Martin capped the burst with two straight layups.
Creighton's Ethan Wragge tied the game at 26 with 6:40 to go on a 3-pointer. Xavier responded with a 6-2 run by powered by points from Martin, Reynolds, Christon and senior forward Isaiah Philmore (Bel Air, Md. / John Carroll School)
McDermott led Creighton early, scoring 7 points in the first nine minutes on 3 of 6 from the floor. Martin grabbed a Xavier-best 11 rebounds in the first half, topping his previous season high of 8 rebounds. He scored four straight points on two layups and Xavier matched its largest lead at 24-18.
Xavier continued its hot 3-point shooting to extend its lead to 39-30 with 2:25 left in the first half, hitting 5 of 6 shots from outside. Back-to-back baskets by Christon pushed Xavier's largest lead to 41-30 with 2:22 left in the first.
XU's Davis picked up his second foul just before the half, but Creighton failed to convert at the free throw line, giving Xavier the halftime advantage.
McDermott led the Bluejays in the first half with 11 points and six rebounds.
The Musketeers travel to Seton Hall for a March 3 Big East match-up before returning home March 6 to face the No. 8/9 Villanova Wildcats at 7 p.m.