Xavier 71, Fordham 56

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NEW YORK (AP)—Xavier started its run of road games with an impressive long distance performance.

Justin Doellman scored 20 points and the Musketeers hit a school-record 15 3-pointers in a 71-56 victory over Fordham on Thursday night.

This game started a stretch of five of seven on the road, and the opener started as well as could ever be expected.

The Musketeers (12-4, 2-0 Atlantic 10) were 10-for-14 on 3s in taking a 44-15 halftime lead, but Fordham was able to get within 12 points in the second half.

“It was a bizarre game. To be up 30 points in the first half in a great 20 minutes by us and we didn’t catch Fordham on a good night, and the combination gave us just an amazing lead,” Xavier coach Sean Miller said.

“In the second half I knew we didn’t have much to gain. We tried to coach as if the score was tight. Fordham needed us to collapse and we did and it was disappointing, but in the big picture it’s tough to win on the road in college basketball so we’ll take it.”

The Rams (8-7, 1-2) were 4-for-16 from the field in the first half and committed 14 turnovers in falling behind by 29 points.

“I didn’t know when they were going to stop making 3-point shots, there wasn’t much I could do about those,” Fordham coach Dereck Whittenburg said. “They were terrific in the first half. I don’t think I’ve been in a game where a team has shot that well from 3-point range.”

Stanley Burrell added 18 points for the Musketeers in their fourth straight victory. They have won 14 of their last 15 against Fordham and lead the all-time series 15-3.

Marcus Stout had 15 points for the Rams, who closed within 12 points twice in the second half, the last time at 62-50 on a drive by Sebastien Greene with 4 minutes to play.

Burrell then hit two 3s in a 7-0 run, the Musketeers’ 14th and 15th of the game. Xavier’s previous record for 3s was 14 set four times, the last against Temple last season.

“We missed free throws. We missed layups. We had guys turn the ball over. We had the deer in the headlights look,” Miller said of his team in the second half, “but I thought the law of averages would go our way. We needed one of our players to make a shot and Stanley made two.”

Whittenburg said he gave his team quite a talking to at halftime.

“Give our kids credit in the second half. We made a run, cut it to 12 and had a chance to make a couple of plays and Burrell hit a couple of deep 3-point shots,” he said.

The 6-foot-9 Doellman averaged 17.0 points on 57.7 percent shooting in Xavier’s last three games. He finished 7-for-12 from the field, 4-for-7 on 3s, and had six rebounds against Fordham.

“That’s four great games in a row for Justin,” Miller said. “In his senior year he is playing at a high level right now.”

The Musketeers hit five of their first seven 3-point shots of the game in taking a 17-9 lead. Fordham had one field goal over a 13-minute span in the first half against the Musketeers’ 3-2 zone. Xavier closed the half on a 22-3 run to take the 44-15 lead, the last six points coming on two 3s by reserve B.J. Raymond.

Drew Lavender had 11 points and seven assists for Xavier.

Bryant Dunston added 14 points, all but one in the second half for Fordham, which finished 18-for-41 from the field (43.9 percent). The Rams, who had won three of their last four overall and were 6-0 at home this season, shot 56 percent in the second half and committed just three turnovers.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
J. Doellman J. Doellman
7-12,  20 Pts
6 Rebs, 2 Assists
B. Dunston B. Dunston
4-5,  14 Pts
7 Rebs, 1 Assists

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Thursday, Jan 11