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Bluiett helps No. 13 Xavier ease by Kent State

Sports Xchange - Thursday 7th December, 2017

CINCINNATI -- Trevon Bluiett scored 26 points and Kerem Kanter had a career-high 20 points and eight rebounds lifting No. 13 Xavier to a 96-70 victory over Kent State on Wednesday night at Cintas Center.

Xavier (8-1) had 13-point victories over No. 16 Baylor and No. 11 Cincinnati in a span of four days last week, and overcame a sluggish start to win its third straight.

Kanter, who had a career-high 17 points in Saturday's win over Cincinnati, scored in double figures for the fourth time in six games.

Turnovers have been an issue for the Musketeers at times this season, but they had only four turnovers with 11 minutes left and finished with nine.

Xavier, meanwhile, scored 22 points off 12 Kent State turnovers.

The Golden Flashes (5-4) were led by Danny Pippen who scored 15 points and Jalen Avery who had 13.

The Musketeers rank second nationally in field-goal percentage and they started Wednesday's game by making their first six shots, including 3-for-3 from Bluiett.

Xavier finished the night shooting 53.2 percent.

Quentin Goodin's drive and jam put Xavier ahead 11-0. The Golden Flashes didn't score until Avery's layup with 16:42 remaining in the first half.

A technical foul on Pippen led to two Bluiett free throws, halting a 9-0 run by Kent State.

There were 15 fouls called in the first 10 minutes. The Golden Flashes were in the bonus with 11:32 left in the half.

Kent State kept the score close through most of the first half behind seven points from Avery who had success getting to the rim.

But, Sean O'Mara came off the bench and scored eight points in the final four minutes of the half to put Xavier ahead 48-32 at halftime. O'Mara had 14 points overall.

Bluiett scored 17 points in the first half.

The Musketeers' run grew to 15-0 on Jones' tip-in which increased their lead to 55-32. Jones picked up his fourth foul moments later. He finished with 13 points.

Kent State started the second half cold, going scoreless until Desmond Ridenour's dunk at the 15:44 mark.

Golden Flashes 7-foot center Adonis De La Rosa fouled out with 13:09 remaining in the game after scoring two points with three rebounds, and Xavier pulled away.

NOTES: Kent State G Jaylin Walker, the team's leading scorer, missed his third straight game with a sprained ankle. ... Xavier has won 36 straight nonconference home games dating to the 2012-13 season, including seven straight against the Bearcats. ... Xavier went 13-for-13 from the free-throw line to begin the game. ... The Musketeers lead the series 14-4 with wins in the past eight meetings.

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