B.J. Raymond isn’t even the leading scorer on his own team, but no player has been better for Xavier of late.
The senior looks to continue his strong play while helping the No. 9 Musketeers try to match the best conference start in school history when they visit Atlantic 10 rival Duquesne on Saturday night.
Paced by another stellar performance from Raymond, Xavier (20-2, 8-0) beat Temple 83-74 at home Thursday for its 11th straight victory, just five off the school-record of 16 straight wins in 2002-03.
Raymond scored 24 points while going 5-of-7 from 3-point range to join current New Orleans Hornet and former Xavier star David West as the only players in school history to score 20 or more points in four straight games.
Second on the team at 13.7 points per game, the 6-foot-6 swingman is averaging 22.5 on 68.3 percent shooting (28-for-41) in his last four contests.
“B.J. Raymond is arguably playing right now as well as any player in the country at his position,” said Xavier coach Sean Miller of Raymond, who is shooting 17-for-26 (65.4 percent) from beyond the arc during his torrid scoring stretch.
While Raymond’s offense was again the story, his defense in holding Temple star and A-10 scoring leader Dionte Christmas to 12 points—eight below his season average—might have been the difference in the recent outcome.
“That was probably one of the best defensive performances I’ve had,” said Raymond, who has a 7.3 career average and wasn’t a full-time starter until this season.
His overall performance now puts the Musketeers in position to match the school-record 9-0 league start set by the 2001-02 squad.
Raymond, C.J. Anderson and Derrick Brown—the team’s top three scorers in 2008-09—each had 13 points in Xavier’s 75-48 rout of Duquesne on Feb. 21 in the only meeting last season.
Though the Musketeers have won four of the last five over the Dukes, they have dropped two of their last three visits to Pittsburgh. Duquesne won 93-91 on Jan. 31, 2007, in the last meeting there.
A repeat might be tougher for the Dukes this time against the Musketeers, who are one of five remaining Division I teams undefeated on the road at 6-0.
Duquesne (14-7, 5-3), which has eight scholarship freshmen and only one scholarship upperclassman, is coming off a 78-74 overtime loss at St. Louis on Wednesday.
Senior Aaron Jackson scored 29 points for the Dukes, whose last two losses have been decided in overtime.
“We had every opportunity in the world and didn’t make the plays when we had to,” Dukes coach Ron Everhart said of the most recent game.
Jackson is averaging a team-leading 17.7 points, but has been held to just 15 total points in three career games versus Xavier.
Duquesne looks to snap a 24-game losing streak to ranked opponents dating to a 78-70 win at then-No. 16 Xavier on Jan. 25, 1997. The Dukes haven’t defeated a Top 10 team since a 91-84 win over then-No. 10 Florida State at home on Dec. 15, 1992.