Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Missed Free Throws Doom Aces ; XAVIER 63, EVANSVILLE 60 Musketeers Cut Away at First Half Deficit to Win

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Missed Free Throws Doom Aces ; XAVIER 63, EVANSVILLE 60 Musketeers Cut Away at First Half Deficit to Win

Article excerpt

If Tuesday night's game was a reflection of what the Evansville- Xavier rivalry of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference Days was like, it was one heck of a series. In true rivalry fashion, Tuesday night's game at the Cintas Center came down to the final shot. Sophomore guard D. J. Balentine's 3-pointer to tie the game went just long, bouncing off the iron and into Matt Stainbrook's hands as the Musketeers beat the Aces, 63-60.

"Dee Davis had really good defense on me," Balentine said of the final shot. "It was tough, but that's what was designed in the huddle. I wanted the ball at the end, definitely. It just didn't go our way."

UE (6-4) built its sevenpoint halftime lead to as many as 13 points midway through the second half, but a 23-10 Xavier run capped by Davis' 3-pointer gave the Musketeers (7-3) their first lead since the opening minutes of the game. The teams traded the lead until a layup by Xavier's Justin Martin with 40 seconds left gave it the lead for good.

Balentine had a chance to put UE ahead 60-58 from the free throw line with 1:09 to play, but uncharacteristically missed both attempts. The sophomore guard, who was shooting 89.3 percent from the line, made just one of four free throws Tuesday. UE also shot just 55.6 percent from the foul line, its second-worst clip on the season.

"It's on me," Balentine said of his missed free throws. "It's just on me."

Balentine made a jump shot later, to tie the game at 60, but Xavier responded with Martin's eventual game-winner. The sophomore guard finished with a team-high 15 points - 13 of which came in the second half - but had six turnovers.

The Musketeers, who were just 60 percent from the free throw line on the season entering Tuesday's game, also made three of their four free throws in the final minute to seal the win. Sophomore guard Semaj Christon led Xavier from the line, hitting 13 of his 17 free throws. …

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