Raymond Encore Coming Soon
Dec. 9, 2008
By Adam Kiefaber
CINCINNATI - After the 81-74 win over Auburn last week, Xavier head coach Sean Miller said that he was "deeply disappointed" in his team's overall effort against Auburn. He even went as far as suggesting that he might have to shake up the starting lineup due to the team's "lackadaisical" effort.
However, there was nothing lackluster about B.J. Raymond's performance that night. The senior set career highs with 32 points and seven three-pointers. Prior to the game, Raymond had only made 28.6 percent of his three-point attempts in the first six games. After last week's win, that percentage jumped to 40.5 percent.
"We won because B.J. Raymond had the best game that he has ever had at Xavier and I think arguably one of the finest games that I have ever seen a Xavier player play, at least in the eight seasons I have been here," Miller said.
The impressive performance earned Raymond Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week honors and put him ahead of Derrick Brown as the team's leading scorer this season with 13.7 points per game.
"There is no player that deserves what he is getting more than him because he never started a game until this year. Most college players transfer. He has helped us as a freshman, sophomore and junior and he is always at his best at big moments," Miller said.
Against Auburn, Raymond came up big for Xavier when they needed him too.
With 1:14 left in the first half, Raymond turned a three-point Xavier lead into a nine-point advantage with back-to-back three pointers in a matter of 27 seconds.
In the second half, after Auburn cut a 22-point Xavier lead to nine in less than five minutes, Raymond drilled two more back-to-back threes.
Then late game foul shots by Raymond helped seal the win for the Musketeers.
"Just watching him through the first seven games of his senior season, he has never played the No. 2 guard for us, ever, and it is the only position he has played this season, he is just getting better and more comfortable," Miller said. "I am just really proud of him."
After the win, Raymond, like his coach, wasn't happy with his team's overall performance.
"I'm not going to sugarcoat anything. We're probably the worst 7-0 team in the country right now in our eyes. We have to get better," Raymond said in the post-game press conference.
Xavier will definitely have the opportunity to prove itself with upcoming games at Cincinnati, against No. 7 Duke and Butler this month.
Currently, the three teams have a combined record of 21-2. Ironically, Butler is currently the only other 7-0 team in Division I basketball.
Before Xavier starts that rough stretch on Saturday, Dec. 13, the team will take on the Ohio Bobcats.
XU has had seven days to prepare for this matchup, while Ohio has been busy and will be playing its fourth game in five nights this Wednesday.
The Bobcats are led by senior forward Jerome Tillman. The Beavercreek High School grad leads the team with 20.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game this year.
Senior forward Justin Orr and freshman guard Steven Coleman each have played well so far this season. Orr is averaging 12.6 points and 4.4 rebounds a game, while Coleman is averaging 10.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game this season.
The game against Ohio will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. at the Cintas Center on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available through the ticket page of GoXavier.com or through ticketmaster. The game will be broadcasted live on Fox Sports Ohio.
Xavier will take on its crosstown rival, Cincinnati, on Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Tip-off is schedule for 8 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2.