Dec 10, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Xavier Musketeers center Matt Stainbrook (40) talks to teammates during the second half against the Evansville Aces at the Cintas Center. Xavier defeated Evansville 63-60. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier Tops Evansville, Prepares for Cincinnati on Saturday

It was another close call, but the Musketeers were able to hold on for a 63-60 victory over Evansville at the Cintas Center on Tuesday night.  In their last game, Xavier needed overtime to take care of Bowling Green.

Semaj Christon led the way for the Musketeers on Tuesday night with 19 points (13 coming from the free throw line), but it was clutch plays from Matt Stainbrook and Justin Martin down the stretch that sealed the victory.  Xavier trailed by as much as 13 in the second half, before regaining the lead with approximately 5 minutes remaining.  They improved to 7-3 with the win.

Now Xavier prepares to take on cross town rival Cincinnati on a neutral court in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon.

The Musketeers haven’t gotten a quality win since beating Tennessee in their second game of the season and haven’t won a game away from home yet (all three losses came on a neutral floor at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament).  However, the Bearcats also haven’t obtained a quality win since their second game of the season (NC State), and also have accumulated all seven of their wins on their home floor.

Cincinnati is a very good defensive team, ranking 14th in the country.  They force the 3rd most turnovers in the nation (27.2% of possessions), and limit opponents to just a 43.3% effective field goal percentage (20th best).  However, they let up an abnormally high amount of offensive rebounds (35.5% of available).

If Xavier plays like they have in their last four contests, they don’t have much of a shot.  But when it comes to heated rivalry games such as this, you throw out stats and recent performances and occasionally add in haymakers.  Look for this to be the game that gets the Musketeers back on track.

Tags: Basketball Big East Semaj Christon Xavier Musketeers

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