The Xavier Musketeers finished its five-game season opening homestand with a 93-65 win over the Abilene Christian Wildcats.
It was a turn on biblical times when the cats were thrown to the Christians.
The fledgling program at Abilene is playing with 10 scholarship players rather than 13, as most of Division I have.
The Musketeers' fans were a little nervous, much like Purdue fans were when NKU came within one point of an upset earlier this year.
Xavier (5-0)lead by a single point, 14-13 with 12:43 left in the first half. The Musketeers bumped the lead to 12 five minutes later but ACU (2-6_closed the gap to six on a jumper in the paint by Alek Milosavijevic.
"I know our fans were restless because they were close," Xavier coach Chris Mack said. "But we were playing hard. Watching them on film, we knew they were going to test us. They spread the floor and they have three shooters on the court at all times. As the game progressed we got better."
Xavier bumped the lead to eight on a tip in by Jalen Reynolds with nine seconds to go in the first half, then survived a missed layup by LaDarrien Williams at the buzzer.
The second half was all Xavier. The Musketeers scored 54 points in the second half when their size, speed and depth forced the Wildcats into foul trouble.
"We've had a brutal non-conference schedule. Xavier is as good as we've seen. They are well coached. They can go inside and outside. They are really, really good," Abilene Christian Alumnus and third-year head coach Joe Golding said.
ACU has played at Duquesne, St. Bonaventure, Maryland, Iowa and TCU. All five double digit losses.
The Wildcats bounced back with consecutive wins over Western New Mexico and Northern New Mexico.
"We're playing with 10 scholarship players instead of 13. We're competing. There are things we can build on, like staying close in the first half. It's hard to see when you're getting beat by 30 but we're getting better. The size and the speed of Division I is the biggest difference. These kids aren't ready but they are getting better. This schedule will help us fund our program and will help us as the season goes on."
Xavier put four players in double figures with Semaj Christon leading with 17. Myles Davis scored 15, James Farr 14 and Jalen Reynolds 11.
Matt Stainbrook grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Xavier.
Xavier outrebounded the smaller Wildcats 47-21 with three ACU players getting three rebounds and six getting two apiece.
Xavier heads to the Battle of Atlantis over Thanksgiving in Nassau in the Bahammas playing Iowa.