CINCINNATI (AP) - Xavier point guard Dee Davis played well at both ends of the floor on Wednesday night, helping the Musketeers move back into sole possession of third place in the Big East Conference.
Semaj Christon contributed 14 points and seven assists to help the Musketeers (18-8, 8-5 Big East) get back on track after Saturday’s loss at Marquette.
Davis also had two steals, just one turnover, and went four of five from 3-point range.
“He’s our quarterback on the court,” said Martin of Davis. “When he goes, we go. He’s the best point guard I’ve ever played with. When he’s pushing the ball and playing pass-first, he makes us better.”
With Davis running the show, Xavier shot a season best 64.3 percent from the field, including 8 of 10 from 3-point range. The Musketeers dished out a season-best 23 assists.
“Hard to say if this is his most complete performance of the season. He’s had some pretty good ones,” said XU coach Chris Mack of Davis. “I thought he showed great decision making. Seven assists and one turnover, can’t ask for any more from your point guard.”
Freshman guard Billy Garrett Jr. scored 17 points and Forrest Robinson added a career-high 14 points off the bench for DePaul (10-17, 2-12 Big East) which lost for the ninth straight time.
Brandon Young added 12 points for the Blue Demons who again played short-handed Wednesday.
For the third straight game DePaul played without star forward Cleveland Melvin who left the program for unspecified reasons after averaging 16.7 points in seven contests.
Melvin scored 25 points on Jan. 20 in an 84-74 loss to Xavier in Chicago, his last game prior to serving a four-game suspension for violating team rules.
With Charles McKinney still hobbled by a left ankle injury, sophomore Durrell McDonald made just his third start of the season for DePaul on Wednesday. McKinney played just six minutes.
“We need to find the team that can start the game and get us into the teeth of the game without putting us in a hole,” DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said. “We’re trying to figure things out. We’re in a rut where turnovers are getting us in a hole early. We’re not giving ourselves a chance.”
Xavier came into Wednesday’s game as a heavy favorite and Mack was looking for a complete effort from his team, especially on defense.
“I was concerned about our mindset going against a team that was down a few guys,” Mack said. “I was happy with the way we got out to the early lead. We just have to keep fighting and finish things the right way.”