CINCINNATI (AP) — Paul Scruggs had a career-high 24 points, Tyrique Jones added a career-high 20 rebounds and tied his career high with 19 points and Xavier held off Evansville 91-85 on Saturday.
Zach Hankins scored nine of his 14 points in the second half, including a run of seven straight capped by a dunk that gave Xavier the lead for good at 66-65 with 13:27 left in the game.
Scruggs and Jones teamed up to score 18 straight Musketeer points down the stretch, helping them open up a 10-point lead and improve to 2-0 in the first season under coach Travis Steele.
Shea Feehan and K.J. Riley each scored 20 point to lead six players in double figures for Evansville (0-2).
Behind Jones, Xavier had a dominating 51-22 advantage on the boards. The Musketeers finished with 19 offensive rebounds, matching the Purple Aces' defensive rebounds.
Quentin Goodin scored all of his 14 points in the first and Scruggs added 10, helping Xavier lead by 15 twice in the first half before Feehan and Riley each scored five points during a 17-6 Purple Aces run that pared the Musketeers' lead to 49-45 at halftime.
Evansville: Former Kentucky star and Celtics assistant coach Walter McCarty is the new coach. ... The Purple Aces were picked to finish last in the Missouri Valley Conference with just two starters back.
Xavier: Goodin made his first appearance after missing a month of pre-season practice with a dislocated left shoulder. He played with a black brace on the injured shoulder before being ejected with 15:10 left in the second half after being whistled for a flagrant foul.
Evansville: Hosts Kentucky Wesleyan on Thursday.
Xavier: Hosts Wisconsin on Tuesday.