Xavier starts fast, stays perfect
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.”