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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Xavier Declaws Tigers To Post Best Start In School History

Xavier has won its first 11 games for the first time in school history with a 85-61 caging of the Auburn Tigers 5-3.

The Musketeers big men, which added a third dimension with 6'10" sophomore Sean O'Mara, had its way with Auburn.

Jalen Reynolds  led the Musketeers with 18 points while grabbing six rebounds. James Farr had 12 points and tied the Tigers Cinmeon Bowers with a game-high 11 rebounds.  O'Mara played a season-high 14 minutes and contributed a career-high 10 points and six rebounds.

"If Jalen keeps improving with Farr playing at that level, we will continue to have a good season," Xavier coach Chris Mack said.  "Sean O'Mara played the best game he's played in a Xavier uniform and it was against a good team, not a Division III team.  This was a good win for our program.  Auburn is a better team than they were last year."

Auburn handed Xavier a 89-88 double overtime loss almost a year to the day ago in Auburn, Alabama. The Tigers were 20-22 in coach Bruce Pearl's first year as coach.  This season the Tigers have proven to be a high scoring unit with junior Kareem Canty leading the pride with a 19.3 points-per-game average.

Xavier jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead off 3-pointers by Remy Abell (5 points) and Trevon Bluiett (13 points).  Reynolds added a shot from the inside.  Xavier extended the lead to 16 points but Auburn clawed to within nine at the break.

"You can't start out slow against a great team like Xavier," said Canty, who scored 25 points to lead all scorers. "We got their lead down to nine but we never got the momentum back."

Blueitt scored on a layup to open the second half and Xavier cruised from there. Freshman Edmond Sumner scored 13 points and pulled in a season-high six rebounds.

The Tigers never got to within nine points again.

Bowers had 12 points and T.J. Dunans had 10 for the Tigers.

Xavier has held every opponent to under 50 percent shooting on the year with the Tigers managing 40 percent from the field.

"Our defense is so much better than last year. It's not even in the same stratosphere. To hold a team that's averaging 87 points a game to 61 is a good job," Mack said.

The Musketeers now have the best start in school history.  They are ranked one in the RPI rating ahead of Duke and 10th in the Associated Press poll. The winning streak is the longest since they won 16 straight games in the 2002-03 season.

"We have who want to be coached and stick together," Mack said.

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