And that’s why they’re the ninth best team in the country.
Thursday night at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, No. 9 Xavier downed the men’s basketball team, 83-74, as senior guard B.J. Raymond hit five 3-pointers and finished with 24 points. In all, the Musketeers hit 11 trey’s and shot 52.6 percent from the field.
The Owls held a 16-15 advantage midway through the first half, but the Musketeers responded with a 9-4 run to regain the lead—one they would never relinquish.
The game remained close from that point until the 15:48 mark of the second half, when Xavier (20-2 overall, 8-0 Atlantic Ten Conference) went on a 15-4 run to put the game away. That run including four 3-pointers and a layup and a dunk from junior forward Derrick Brown, who finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
The Owls were led by senior center Sergio Olmos, who notched 18 points on 8-9 shooting. Though he nabbed just one rebound, Olmos did blocked three shots in the contest. Senior guard Dionte Christmas shot 6-16 from the field and 0-3 from beyond the 3-point line, finishing with 12 points.
He was hounded all game from the Xavier defense, as Temple (12-9, 4-3) had to look elsewhere for their offense. Besides Olmos, sophomore forward Lavoy Allen added 14 points and 13 rebounds, and junior guard Ryan Brooks chipped in with 11 points.
Overall, the Owls offense was not the problem, as it shot 44 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point land. The defense, though, couldn’t contain Raymond or freshman guard Brad Redford, who hit four 3-pointers to finish with 12 points, from the outside or Brown on the inside.
The loss was the Owls’ third consecutive on the road, as coach Fran Dunphy’s squad has had problems winning away from home in the A-10.
The Owls return to action Sunday afternoon at the Liacouras Center at 2 p.m. against Rhode Island.
Todd Orodenker can be reached at email@example.com.