CINCINNATI (AP) — Paul Scruggs scored 21 points and had a career-high eight assists Wednesday night, steadying Xavier’s illness-depleted lineup to its fourth straight victory, 82-61 over Ohio.
The Musketeers (6-3) were missing point guard Quentin Goodin, who missed practice this week because of illness. Scruggs took over, played 31 minutes and made Xavier’s biggest plays as it pulled away in the second half.
Naji Marshall had 15 points and a team-high seven rebounds, and Tyrique Jones added 15 points for Xavier, which went 16 of 22 from the field in the second half. Jones took a charge, went down hard, held his head for several minutes and was helped off the court with 2:11 left.
Ohio (5-3) fell behind by 13 points at the outset before rallying and turning it into a back-and-forth game. Scruggs had a pair of baskets and a free throw during a 9-1 run that put the Musketeers ahead 65-55 with seven minutes left.
It was Xavier’s second game against a Mid-American Conference team in the last eight days. The Musketeers beat Miami of Ohio 82-55 at the Cintas Center last Wednesday.
Xavier made seven of its first nine shots — four of them from beyond the arc — while pulling out to an 18-5 lead . Carter had a pair of baskets and two free throws during a 14-2 run that gave Ohio its first lead 32-29.
It was back-and-forth until Xavier’s decisive run led by Scruggs.
Ohio: The Bobcats were playing their first road game. They had two games in the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic and lost to South Florida and Loyola Marymount.
Xavier: The Musketeers are trying to get through an illness that spread through the team. In addition to Goodin, forward Zach Hankins missed practice on Tuesday, leaving coach Travis Steele unsure who would be available against the Bobcats or how much they’d be able to play. Hankins played 11 minutes and had two points.
Ohio hosts Radford on Saturday.
Xavier plays at crosstown rival Cincinnati on Saturday. The Musketeers have won eight of 11 in the series, including an 89-76 win last December on Xavier’s campus.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL