Xavier notches fifth win of season, Charlotte remains undefeated
Led by freshman guard Semaj Christon, the Xavier men’s basketball team used an early second half rally to hold off Drake 74-70 on Sunday at the Direct TV Classic Tournament held in Anaheim, Calif.
Christon scored a team-high 16 points along with seven assists and six rebounds to lead the Musketeers (5-1) past the Bulldogs (2-3). He averaged 19 points and 6.3 assists over three games en route to being named to the All-Tournament Team.
Xavier trailed Drake 30-26 coming out of the half, but went on an 11-0 run to take a lead it would not relinquish. Four other Musketeers scored in double figures, including sophomore guard Dee Davis, who chipped in 15 points, and sophomore forward Justin Martin, who scored 13 point to go along with a team-high eight rebounds.
The Bulldogs cut the deficit to as few as five points, but a 6-0 Mustketeer run in the final four minutes put the game out of reach.
Drake freshman forward Joey King led all scorers with a career-high 21 points on7-of-11 shooting, while senior forward Ben Simons added 20 points and six rebounds.
Xavier is back in action Saturday as it travels to West Lafayette, Ind., to take on Purdue, while Drake also hits the road to take on Nevada this Friday.
La Salle escapes in OT
Powered by senior guard Ramon Galloway and junior guard Tyreek Duren, La Salle squeaked out a down-to-the-wire 77-74 overtime win Sunday at home in Tom Gola Arena.
With the Explorers (3-1) trailing 74-73 in overtime, Duren scored an easy layup on a back-door cut, putting his team up for good with 18 seconds remaining. Sophomore center Steve Zack sunk two free throws to extend the La Salle lead to three with just under six seconds remaining and the Wildcats (3-3) failed to tie the game at the buzzer.
Duren forced the game into overtime after nailing a contested 3-point shot with seven seconds left on the clock, ending regulation with a 67-67 tie.
Galloway led all scorers with 26 points along with four rebounds, four assists and five steals. He, along with teammate Duren (23 points, five assists), kept the Explorers in the game with a dominating second half performance that saw the pair score 24 of La Salle’s final 26 points.
The Wildcats were led by senior center Mouphtaou Yarou, who racked up 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, and sophomore forward Jay Vaughn Pinkston, who tallied 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
The Explorers next travel to Lawrenceville, N.J., Thursday to take on Rider, while Villanova heads to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Charlotte remains undefeated
Charlotte took care of Northeastern 67-59 in Anchorage on Sunday to take home the Great Alaska Shootout tournament title while remaining undefeated and tying the school record for the best start to a season.
The 49ers (6-0) were led by three double-digit scorers including senior forward Chris Braswell (14 points, four rebounds), sophomore guard Terrence Williams (13 points, three blocks) and freshman forward Darion Clark (10 points, eight rebounds).
Charlotte had trouble putting away the Huskies in the second half, as Northeastern rallied multiple times, including a 6-2 run in the final minute to cut the 49er lead to 63-59.
However, Braswell shut the book on any hopes of a Huskies comeback by scoring the final four points of the game.
Senior guard Joel Smith led the Huskies’ attack with 19 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Freshman guard David Walker was the only other Northeastern player in double digits with 13 points.
Charlotte heads back home Saturday to take on East Carolina while Northeastern returns to Boston to host Maine on Wednesday.
Joey Saade can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @MDC_Saade.