Second-Half Rally Gives Xavier 63-60 Win Over Basketball
December 11, 2013HOOSIER SPORTS 365
EVANSVILLE PRESS RELEASE
CINCINNATI – A game-ending 28-12 run gave Xavier a 63-60 victory over the University of Evansville men's basketball team on Tuesday evening at the Cintas Center.
Evansville (6-4) held a 13-point lead with 12 minutes remaining, but Xavier (7-3) roared back behind a game-high 19 points by Semaj Christon. D.J. Balentine led the Aces with 15 points while Egidijus Mockevicius chipped in 11 tallies and 6 rebounds. Adam Wing finished the game with seven points and a team-best eight caroms.
Each team knocked down its first bucket, including Blake Simmons putting UE on the board, before defense took over. The Aces forced three early Musketeer turnovers while the offense was held to just 1-5 from the floor in the opening moments. Just over five minutes in, it was Blake Simmons giving the Aces their first lead, knocking down a trey to make it 9-8 with 14:26 left in the period.
Xavier fought back as a Justin Martin bucket gave them a 15-14 lead, but the Aces provided their largest rally to that point, posting the next ten points on their way to a 24-15 advantage. Egidijus Mockevicius posted six of those ten points as Xavier missed five shots in a row while turning the ball over three times. Semaj Christon ended the stretch with a pair of free throws as the Musketeers posted the next four tallies.
Just as quick as XU cut into the Aces edge, Evansville took it right back. With 4:33 remaining, Adam Wing hit his first bucket of the game, a three, before D.J. Balentine got on the board with a layup making it a 29-19 score in favor of UE. In the closing minutes of the period, Xavier cut the gap to five before Wing struck again with his second basket to send UE to the locker room of 32-25. Mockevicius led all players with nine points and two blocks in the first half as the teams swapped the lead five times in the frame.
Matt Stainbrook hit a layup as Xaiver scored the first three points out of the break to cut the Aces' lead back to four points, but it was Balentine getting it done on all ends of the floor, posting two assists and a steal as the Aces posted six points in a row to match their largest advantage at ten points (38-28). Balentine kept the momentum going, posting his second block of the season before converting that into a layup and seconds later, his first three of the contest made it 43-33 in favor of the Aces at the 14 minute mark.
After being held to just two points in the first half, Balentine continued to hit his shots in the second stanza as his second trey of the night gave Evansville its largest at 48-35. On the ensuing possession, Christon hit an and-one to offset Balentine's three. His efforts set the Musketeers on a 9-1 stretch as they cut the gap to five points at 49-44 with just over ten minutes remaining.
Christon scored 10 points in an 18-6 rally as the Musketeers got within one at 54-53 inside of 8 minutes remaining. Xavier made five out of six shots over the course of the stretch as UE shot 2-for-7 in that timeframe. Jaylon Brown hit all three of Evansville's baskets in that run. Despite his efforts, the Musketeers were able to retake the lead as Dee Davis drained his fourth basket of the contest and second three to make it a 57-56 game.
Balentine helped UE battle back as his bucket with four minutes left tied the game back up at 58-58. The game remained scoreless until Stainbrook knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:08 left. Evansville turned the ball over three times in that stretch while Xavier missed all seven of its attempts. Balentine tied it up on the next possession, but it was Stainbrook finding an open Justin Martin under the basket to put Xavier back on top at 62-60 with 40 seconds left.
Christon made one of his two free throws inside of 20 ticks left giving the Aces one last chance before a Balentine three at the buzzer fell short.
The Aces outshot the Musketeers by a 46.9%-36.2% margin. The primary differences came on the offensive glass as Xavier finished with a final 12-6 tally and from the line as Evansville was just 10-of-18 while Xavier made 16 of their 24 attempts.
With a stretch of four out of five games on the road completed, the Purple Aces head back home for their next three games, beginning on Saturday as the squad faces Jackson State. Several promotions will be featured on Saturday, which will be "Kids Day" at the Ford Center as the game is set for a 2:05 p.m. tip. A free mini Aces basketball for the first 1,000 kids in attendance highlights the day.