for this game

Xavier rolls after sluggish start

Feb 15, 2009 - 12:44 AM CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- It took a bit longer than Xavier coach Sean Miller would have liked, but the Musketeers' matchup against Fordham eventually turned into the expected blowout.

Freshman Brad Redford paced six players in double figures with a season-high 15 points off the bench - all on 3-pointers - as 14th-ranked Xavier shook off a sluggish start Saturday to blast the Rams, 88-53, in an Atlantic 10 Conference mismatch.

"I ran out hard in transition and guys gave me some screens," said Redford, who was 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. "They gave me a little bit of space and I just knocked down some threes."

Fordham appeared to be the perfect tonic for the Musketeers (21-4, 9-2 A-10), who were licking their wounds following consecutive losses at Duquesne and Dayton.

For most of the first half, however, Xavier was stagnant on offense and found itself in a battle with one of the worst teams in Division I.

The Rams (3-19, 1-9) closed within 24-22 on a jumper by freshman Jio Fontan with 7:54 remaining in the first half. Xavier also was frustrated early by Fordham's triangle-and-two defense.

"We didn't really prepare for a triangle and two, which is what they were running," Musketeers sophomore guard Dante Jackson said. "But the coaches made some adjustments and we just implemented our game plan."

Xavier finally woke up, as back-to-back 3-pointers by B.J. Raymond and Derrick Brown pushed the Musketeers' lead to 34-24 with four minutes left in the half.

Xavier settled for a 42-29 halftime advantage, then turned the contest into extended garbage time in the second half as the Rams were powerless to stop the onslaught.

Xavier blitzed Fordham by shooting just under 61 percent (17-of-28) in the second half and finished at 53 percent (31-of-58).

Raymond added 14 points, making four 3-pointers, while fellow starters Jackson and Brown chipped in with 13 and 12, respectively. Jamel McLean contributed 10 points off the bench.

"They came out and shocked us with their game plan and the defense they were running," Jackson added. "(But) we shot pretty well today."

"Dante has been a big reason why our team is 21-4," Miller added. "I like what he did today. He's the better defender. He's more experienced. He responded and I think he's going to be a big part of our success."

Mike Moore scored a career-best 24 points for Fordham, which was outscored, 46-24, in the second half.

The Rams shot 33 percent (19-of-58) overall and just 24 percent (8-of-33) in the second half.

The Musketeers made 14 3-pointers, including three by Redford in the first half - compared to only four for Fordham, which dropped to 1-16 against Xavier since the school became Atlantic 10 rivals.

"(Redford's) threes were crucial in the first half." Miller said. "We won't make 14 threes without him."

    --- --- -----
    FORDHAM 29 24 53
    XAVIER (14) 42 46 88 FINAL

    Feb 14 5:54 PM

    FORDHAM 29

    Feb 14 4:52 PM