CINCINNATI (AP) — Trevon Bluiett has been Xavier’s one constant during a time of transition.
Bluiett scored 20 points for the fifth time in six games, and the 24th-ranked Musketeers overcame sloppy ball handling and pulled away to their fourth straight victory, 72-61 over DePaul on Wednesday night.
The Musketeers kept it close with 19 turnovers, a symptom of their lack of depth at point guard since Edmond Sumner tore an ACL last month. RaShid Gaston dominated the closing minutes of the first half as Xavier finally gained control.
DePaul (8-16, 1-10) trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half as it lost its seventh straight. Freshman Brandon Cyrus led the Blue Demons with a career-high 18 points.
“We’re trying to find our way as a team right now,” Cyrus said. “We just have to find a way to play together.”
The Musketeers dominated the boards 37-22, getting 13 offensive rebounds.
DePaul: The Blue Demons haven’t beaten a ranked team on the road since a 64-60 win at No. 24 Seton Hall on Jan. 22, 2015. They have dropped seven straight since.
DePaul had the ball for what would have essentially been the last shot of the first half, but Billy Garrett missed a forced 3-point attempt with 16 seconds left, giving Xavier a chance to pull off Gaston’s three-point play with 1 second left.
The Blue Demons host No. 23 Creighton on Saturday, the second of three straight games against ranked teams. They lost at Creighton 83-66 on Jan. 28.
The Musketeers host No. 2 Villanova on Saturday. They lost at Villanova 79-54 on Jan. 10, their most lopsided defeat of the season.
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