Men's Basketball Squad Wins the Battle of Runs Against Rival Dayton
CINCINNATI --- The Xavier University Musketeers, 16-3 overall and 7-1 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, won their fifth straight game and their 11th game in the last 12 games with an 82-72 win over long-time rival Dayton on Tuesday night at the Cintas Center. Xavier has won 16 straight games over Dayton in Cincinnati, covering over 20 seasons of basketball.
The sell-out crowd of 10,250 was clearly the loudest of the season. "Sometimes it was so loud you couldnít hear the whistle blow," said Xavier sophomore forward/center David West.
Dayton and Xavier treated the raucous crowd to a back-and-forth battle. The game was a game of runs. Dayton used the three-point shot to jump out to an early lead of 20-11. Xavier answered with a 22-5 run that gave the Musketeers a 33-25 lead with 5:58 left in the first half. The Flyers closed the gap to three points, 35-32, at halftime with a 7-2 run to end the first half.
Dayton began the second half like it started the game, drilling three three-pointers on its way to an 11-0 run that gave the Flyers an eight-point, 43-35, lead with 18:27 left. The Musketeers then clamped down the defense and turned up the offense, going on a 13-0 run to take the lead for good at 48-43 with 13:54 left. With Dayton trailing by only two points, 57-55 with 8:56 left, Xavier put the game away with a 12-0 run that gave the Musketeers a 14-point advantage at 69-55 with 6:02 left. The Flyers never seriously threatened after that impressive XU run.
"This was a game of runs," said Xavier head coach Skip Prosser. "Iím really proud of our kids, the fact that they were able to answer the runs that Dayton had. I want to give them (U-D) a lot of credit. Iím happy to get out of here with a W."
David West recorded his seventh straight "double-double" in scoring-rebounding with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while being voted the Blackburn/McCafferty Game MVP winner by the Cincinnati and Dayton media at the game. Junior forward Lloyd Price scored a season-high 21 points to go with six rebounds, while senior guard Maurice McAfee scored 18 points on the strength of four three-pointers. McAfee helped keep XU close with 11 first half points, while West scored 17 of his points in the decisive second half. Xavier is now 16-0 when it places at least three players in double figures in scoring.
"I thought the key to the game was how we executed our offense in the second half," said Prosser.
Xavier hosts George Washington on Saturday at the Cintas Center at 7:30 p.m.