Bluiett leads No. 12 Xavier past Western Kentucky 95-64

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CINCINNATI (AP) No letdown this time. No. 12 Xavier was in charge the whole way.

Trevon Bluiett matched his career high with 21 points as part of a double-double Saturday night, leading the Musketeers to a 95-64 victory over Western Kentucky that extended the Musketeers' best start in four years.

It was a far better showing than the last time the Musketeeers (8-0) played at home. They went through the motions during a 12-point win over Northern Kentucky that left coach Chris Mack fuming.

''We were definitely more happy as opposed to the last time we were here,'' Bluiett said. ''We knew we kind of dropped the ball a little bit.''

James Farr also had a career-high 18 points for Xavier (8-0), which used its balance and front-line advantage to hold a comfortable lead most of the way. The Musketeers had a 40-32 edge in rebounds, with Bluiett getting 10 as part of this third career double-double.

Myles Davis added a season-high 16 points, and Xavier finished with five players in double figures and shot 57 percent from the field.

Justin Johnson scored 15 points for Western Kentucky (4-4), which relies on the 3-pointer and went only 5 of 22 from beyond the arc.

''We had too many guys play out of character,'' coach Ray Harper said. ''They are better players than what they showed.''

The Musketeers jumped to No. 12 in the poll after a week of lopsided wins over Alabama, Southern California and Dayton in the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando, Florida. The challenge was to keep the momentum going back on their home court against an overmatched team.

''We didn't want to be one of those teams that win a tournament and come into a game and just drop one,'' Bluiett said. ''We made that a point of emphasis.''

The Musketeers also had several players sick during the week, limiting their practice time.

''I thought for a large majority of the game, I was really pleased with our effort,'' coach Chris Mack said.

The Hilltoppers are having one of their best offensive seasons in years, averaging 82.1 points and shooting 42.2 percent from beyond the arc. They struggled against Xavier's man-to-man defense, shooting only 34 percent from the field while falling behind by as many as 16 points in the first half.

Western Kentucky's 64 points were a season low.

''We had our flaws in this game, but we overshadowed our flaws to get it done,'' said Farr, who also had five rebounds.

Bluiett scored 13 points and Farr had 12 - three shy of the forward's career high - as Xavier dominated inside during the opening half. Bluiett had a long 3-pointer and a pair of free throws during a 12-point spurt that pushed the lead to 27 in the second half.

The Musketeers clamped down on guard Aaron Crosby, who went 8 of 11 from beyond the 3-point arc in an 86-84 win over Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday. Crosby missed four of his first five attempts from beyond the arc and finished with 10 points.


Xavier has used a 1-3-1 zone much more this season to slow down opponents, but stuck almost exclusively with its man-to-man against the high-scoring Hilltoppers. Western Kentucky shot a season-low 38.7 percent from the field and had a season-low 10 assists.


Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers are 35-95 all-time against Top 25 teams. Xavier is the highest-ranked team they've faced on the road - other than Louisville - since the 2003-04 season.

Xavier: The Musketeers have made more free throws (176) than opponents have attempted (160) this season.


Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers host Indiana State on Dec. 13.

Xavier: The Musketeers host Wright State on Tuesday, the second of four straight home games. They play crosstown rival No. 17 Cincinnati next Saturday.


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