CINCINNATI — Senior forward Justin Martin scored a career-high 22 points while junior guard Dee Davis added 17 points and seven assists as Xavier blew out reeling DePaul 83-64 on Wednesday night at Cintas Center.
Xavier (18-8, 8-5 Big East) shot a season-high 64.3 percent (27 of 42) as it surpassed its win total from last season, when it went 17-14 and had its streak of six consecutive NCAA tournament appearances snapped. The Musketeers are in third place in the Big East behind Creighton and Villanova.
The loss was the ninth in row for DePaul (10-17, 2-12), including its seventh straight since leading scorer Cleveland Melvin was suspended for violating team rules and subsequently left the school.
Freshman guard Billy Garrett Jr. led DePaul with 17 points, while junior forward Forrest Robinson scored 14, making four 3-pointers.
Senior guard Brandon Young (12) and senior forward Sandi Marcius (11) also scored in double figures, but DePaul shot just 35.8 percent (19 of 53), its third-lowest percentage of the season.
This is the sixth straight season DePaul has had a losing streak of at least nine games.
Martin had eight points during Xavier’s 14-0 run to open the second half as the Musketeers took a 53-27 lead, their largest of the game.
Sophomore guard Semaj Christon and senior forward Isaiah Philmore added 14 and 11 points, respectively, for Xavier. The Musketeers’ previous season high for field goal percentage was 58.3 in an 84-74 win over DePaul on Jan. 20 in Chicago. Xavier made 54 of 90 field goals (60 percent) in the two games.
Xavier led 39-27 at halftime.
The Musketeers scored the first six points of the game and jumped out to a 16-2 lead as DePaul made just one of its first 11 shots and turned the ball over four times in the opening eight minutes.
Guard Semaj Christon scored 10 first-half points, and Xavier led by as many as 17 points. DePaul cut its deficit to 10 points as forward Forrest Robinson hit three 3-pointers during an 11-4 run. Xavier pushed its advantage back to 15 points before Garrett hit a 3-pointer as the halftime buzzer.
NOTES: DePaul played at Xavier for the first time since Feb. 9, 1974, when the Blue Demons beat the Musketeers 77-70. … When DePaul G Billy Garrett Jr. made a 3-pointer with 9:26 left in the first half, it extended the Blue Demons’ streak of games with at least one 3-pointer to 639. … Xavier began the night shooting 74 percent from the free-throw line in Big East games, but it made just 21 of 38 (55.3 percent). … Xavier plays at Georgetown on Saturday. DePaul plays host to Marquette on Saturday.
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