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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.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Xavier Builds Momentum With National Champions Looming

Xavier overcame 19 turnovers to defeat the DePaul Blue Demons, 72-61.

The Musketeers won their fourth straight game to build momentum going into a showdown with Big East Conference leader Villanova on Saturday.

DePaul (8-16, 1-10) contested the older, wiser Musketeers but faded at the end in both halves.

DePaul senior Billy Garrett made a 3-point shot with 53 seconds left in the first half to make it a one-point game.  Trevon Bluiett buried a 3-point shot 14 seconds later and RaShid Gaston converted an old fashion 3-point play on the last second of the half as Xavier's lead ballooned to 41-34.

Xaveir (18-6, 8-3) built a 13-point lead in the first 10 minutes in the second half but DePaul played them even the rest of the game.

Bluiett led the Musketeers with 20 points. Gaston scored 14 points off the bench. J.P. Macura had 13 points.  Kaiser Gates led the Musketeers with a game-high 10 rebounds. Quentin Goodin, filling in for the injured Edmond Sumner dished out a game-high eight assists.

Xavier turned the ball over 19 times for the second time this season, matching the 19 that they committed against St. John's on January 29.  They won both games.

"It wasn't pretty," Xavier head coach Chris Mack said.  "We had too many turnovers but give DePaul credit. They did some things that forced us play faster than the tired team that we are."

DePaul is having a rough season.  It's lone conference win was a 64-63 squeaker at home against Providence. They are mixing in some young players like freshman Brandon Cyrus, who led the Blue Demons with 18 points.  Eli Cain scored 15 points and senior Billy Garrett added 12.

"This is a tough place to play but it was fun. It helped us up our game," Cyrus said.  "I think we're trying to find our way as a team right now. We have good people but we have to play together."

Xavier is looking forward to hosting reigning National Champion Villanova on Saturday as a decided under dog.  The Musketeers lost a 79-54 nightmare in Philadelphia to the Wildcats on January 10.

The tip-off at the Cintas Center is at 2:30.

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