Mens Basketball: Rider vs Xavier - D1SportsNet


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Mens basketball

Rider vs Xavier

CINCINNATI Xavier Musketeers head coach Chris Mack was pleased with his team's effort in Friday's season opening win over Morehead State, particularly the players' unselfishness. Could this become a hallmark for the 17th ranked Muskies?

In the 101 49 blasting of the Eagles, Xavier dished out 26 assists on 36 made field goals. During a 62 point first half, the Musketeers had 17 assists on 22 field goals. Of the 26 assists, nine came from freshmen.

"Our emphasis is to create good shots for one another," Xavier head coach Chris Mack said. "That could be underneath the basket, that could be a '3', as long as we're trying to find one another and get good looks. If we can get the ball in the lane through plays and drives and make the extra pass ... we should be able to shoot at a high level."

Xavier (1 0) hosts Rider on Monday night at Cintas Center. It's the first meeting between the two schools.

Head coach Kevin Baggett's Broncs went 18 15 last season and 10 10 in the Metro Atlantic Conference.

Rider (1 0) broke open a tight game to beat Hampton 90 75 on Friday. Five Broncs players were in double figures led by Jordan Allen's 21 points. Allen, a redshirt freshman, was the Delaware Player of the Year as a senior at Dover High School.

"There weren't any nerves," Allen told the Trentonian, when asked about his Mens debut. "It was more of being excited that I'm finally here. Sitting out a whole year was really nerve wracking because I didn't want to sit out, but I had to. Coming into the first game, it's like, 'Oh, shoot, I'm finally here.'"

On Monday, Allen and his teammates will get a chance to perform on the big stage, in front of 10,000 plus fans against a Big East Conference school that many believe is capable of a Final Four run.

Musketeers forward Trevon Bluiett, who battled a minor shoulder issue during the preseason, scored 25 points on 9 of 12 shooting on Friday. He was seen icing his shoulder after the game, but the national player of the year candidate appeared healthy while going 5 of 7 from 3 point range.

Senior J.P. Macura scored 18 points against Morehead and Quentin Goodin, who took over at point guard last season for injured Edmond Sumner and helped lead the Musketeers to the Elite Eight, had seven assists.

Xavier will try not to look past Rider to Thursday's game at Wisconsin. A few Musketeers players have painful memories of the Badgers' buzzer beater that knocked them out of the NCAA Tournament two years ago as a No. 2 seed.

But, for now, Xavier will set revenge aside and focus on Rider. The Broncs say they won't be intimidated on Monday.

"We can't be afraid to go play a top 20 team," Baggett said. "They put their shoes and uniforms on the same way we do. We're not going to back down. We're not going to be afraid. We're going to take our chances and compete, and wherever it takes us, it takes us."