Bluiett scores 21, No. 15 Xavier grinds down Hampton 96-60
By JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) — Trevon Bluiett decided to return for his senior season and make it his best. Through four games, he’s been better than ever.
Bluiett followed his fabulous game against Wisconsin with a 21-point performance on Monday night, and 15th-ranked Xavier turned to its reserves while pulling away to a 96-60 victory over Hampton.
The Musketeers’ guard has led the way through a 4-0 start, scoring at least 21 in each game. Bluiett was coming off his best game of the season, scoring 21 of his 25 points in the second half of an 80-70 win at Wisconsin on Thursday night.
“Same old Tre,” forward Sean O’Mara said. “I’ve been seeing it for four years now. He’s an incredible player. You don’t get to see him in practice; we know what we’re going to get out of him.”
Bluiett went 7 of 9 from the field and had four rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes.
“He seems so comfortable out there on the offensive end, so confident,” coach Chris Mack said. “At times, he’ll go 3-4 minutes without getting a shot, he’s so unselfish. He has such a unique ability to create his own shot.”
The Musketeers got ahead by 32 points and took advantage of the chance to get playing time for their newcomers. Freshman Naji Marshall had 12 points and seven rebounds.
Jermaine Marrow led Hampton (1-4) with 20 points. The Pirates quickly piled up the fouls while guarding the Musketeers — four of them had four fouls midway through the second half. Hampton coach Edward Joyner Jr. picked up a pair of technical fouls for arguing calls with 2:22 left and calmly walked off the court.
Xavier extended its streak of 33 straight wins over non-conference opponents at the Cintas Center.
Hampton: Marrow is the key to the Pirates’ offense. He led the team in scoring in the first four games, averaging 22 points, including a 31-point performance against Florida A&M. Against the Musketeers, he went 7 of 25 from the field.
Xavier: The Musketeers lost their patience against Hampton’s zone defense in the first half, repeatedly dribbling into the middle of the court and losing the ball. They had seven turnovers in the half, which ended with the Musketeers up 43-31.
THINKING OF VEGAS
O’Mara thought the Musketeers had their minds on their upcoming trip to Las Vegas on Tuesday for a tournament, detracting from their focus on the game.
“We came out with low energy,” said O’Mara, who had 11 points and 5 rebounds. “We kind of let the team get to us, let tomorrow get to us. We’re all looking forward to heading out on this trip. In the second half we stepped on the pedal and set the tempo like we like to play.”
PILING UP THE POINTS
In their first four games, the Musketeers have scored 101, 101, 80 and 96 points.
In addition to Joyner’s two technical fouls in the closing minutes, Xavier guard J.P. Macura got one in the first half for something he said about a call.
The Pirates have played three current members of the Big East and lost each time.
Hampton plays Northern Arizona on Thursday.
Xavier plays George Washington on Thursday in Las Vegas. The Musketeers lead the all-time series 27-9 and have won eight straight, most recently in the 2012-13 season.
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