Xavier starts fast, stays per­fect

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Trevon Blui­ett scored 15 of his 23 points dur­ing Xavier’s dom­i­nant first half, and the No. 7 Mus­ke­teers re­mained un­beaten with an 85-55 vic­tory over North Dakota State on Tues­day in Cincin­nati.

The Mus­ke­teers (7-0) opened with a de­ci­sive run for the sec­ond straight game. Sean O’Mara added 12 points and five re­bounds, and Mal­colm Bernard had 10 points and eight re­bounds.

Xavier got up 30-10 dur­ing a 64-42 win over North­ern Iowa on Satur­day, giv­ing up only 12 points in the first half — the fewest it has al­lowed in any half since the shot clock was in­tro­duced for the 1985-86 sea­son. Against North Dakota State ( 5- 3), the Mus­ke­teers opened with a 30-11 run and were never chal­lenged. Hurt­ing Huskies: Con­necti­cut an­nounced that fresh­man point guard Al­terique Gil­bert will un­dergo surgery to re­pair a torn labrum in his left shoul­der and will miss the rest of the sea­son.

Gil­bert suf­fered the in­jury dur­ing the Huskies’ win at Loy­ola Mary­mount on Nov. 17. The school said the surgery will be sched­uled in the next few weeks to re­pair the dam­age and tighten the mus­cles in the shoul­der. The re­cov­ery time is ex­pected to be about six months.

The Huskies (2-4) also an­nounced that fresh­man for­ward Ma­madou Diarra will red­shirt this sea­son to un­dergo treat­ment for a painful knee con­di­tion. The 6- foot- 8 Diarra hasn’t played be­cause of the con­di­tion, known as patellofemoral syn­drome.

UConn al­ready had lost start­ing swing­man Terry Lar­rier, who tore the ACL his left knee in the Huskies’ loss to Ok­la­homa State in Hawaii on Nov. 21. The sopho­more trans­fer is ex­pected to un­dergo surgery in the next few days. Layups: Iowa fresh­man CTyler Cook will miss three to four weeks with a bro­ken fin­ger on his right hand. Cook, who suf­fered the in­jury dur­ing prac­tice Thursday, is av­er­ag­ing 13.7 points and 5.3 re­bounds. ... Delaware State se­cured its first non­con­fer­ence win over a fel­low Di­vi­sion I team in 22 games, beat­ing host St. John’s 79-72

New Pan­thers coach Tom Rowe met with cap­tain Derek MacKen­zie and the rest of the team’s lead­er­ship Mon­day. He talked to the whole team Tues­day.

Rowe knows Ger­ald Gal­lant is well-liked in the locker room, and he wanted to be as trans­par­ent as pos­si­ble on why the coach was let go just 22 games into the sea­son.

“I came in and I said, ‘Lis­ten, we’re not go­ing to change a whole lot. We need to tweak a few things,’ ” Rowe said.

“But if I came in here and wasn’t sen­si­tive to that, it just wouldn’t work. I love our room. I love our lead­er­ship group, and we’ve got the right guys to help us get go­ing.”

The good news for Rowe is the Pan­thers don’t have to travel very far. They were on the fringe of the Eastern Con­fer­ence play­off race head­ing into their first game since Gal­lant was fired.

“We all feel very re­spon­si­ble for what’s go­ing on,” MacKen­zie said be­fore Tues­day’s matchup with the Black­hawks. “Our per­for­mance to this point hasn’t been good enough. Un­for­tu­nately, Gerard was the end.re­sult of that.”

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