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Xavier looks to keep rolling on home court, faces Montana

Xavier White guard Souley Boum (0) shoots in the first half of a scrimmage during Xavier Basketball        s Musketeer Madness on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022 at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati.

Ncaa Basketball Xavier Musketeer Madness
Credit: Joshua A. Bickel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Xavier University continues its season-opening four-game homestand on Friday night when it welcomes the Montana Grizzlies in the first meeting between the two schools.

Xavier, which will enjoy a sold-out crowd for the second straight game, is looking for its sixth win in a row at Cintas Center.

Souley Boum made an impressive Xavier debut in Xavier’s season-opening win over Morgan State on Monday night, scoring a game-high 23 points. Colby Jones added a career-high nine assists to go with 15 points, six rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

In the first game of his second stint as Xavier head coach, Sean Miller watched his Musketeers use a 31-5 run to close out the first half and coast to a 96-73 win.

“The crowd was incredible. Maybe it’s because I’ve been gone for so long, but I can’t imagine in college basketball (anyplace better) than what we have here at the Cintas Center. It has everything, and when you have the home court we have, you feel responsible for having a good team,” Miller said.

Montana opened the season with a 91-63 loss to Duquesne in Pittsburgh. The Dukes used hot shooting and full-court pressure defense to disrupt Montana and end the first half on a 31-7 run.

Trailing 45-19 at the half, Montana had little hope of getting back in the game as Duquesne shot a blistering 64.4 percent from the floor.

The Grizzlies were cold offensively, going the final 13 minutes of the opening half without a field goal. Montana improved offensively in the second half, scoring 44 points, but it could not make a threat down the stretch.

“You don’t know where you’re at until you compete and get after it. You don’t know how tough you are until you’ve been in a fight,” Montana head coach Travis DeCuire said.

“For us, I thought we got off to a decent start offensively. I don’t know that we were ever defending very well. Game was close and then the pressure came. Pressure busts pipes. They forced a couple of turnovers for easy baskets, momentum, and we never really snapped out of it,” DeCuire said.

–Field Level Media