No. 10 Xavier, Ohio 97, Akron 73
CINCINNATI (AP) _ James Posey had a double-double in the decisive first half and Torraye Braggs scored a career-high 24 points Saturday as No. 10 Xavier pulled away to a 97-73 victory over Akron.
Xavier (2-0) took control behind Posey, who put his imprint on the first half by scoring 16 points and getting 10 rebounds, two more than Akron’s total. The Zips (0-1) fell behind by 19 in the half and never threatened.
Braggs scored 12 consecutive points as the Musketeers pushed the lead to 33 in the second half before the backups took over. Posey finished with 20 points and matched his career high with 15 rebounds.
Posey, Xavier’s sixth man, was nearly perfect in the first half, when he hit both of his 3-point shots, was 5-of-6 from the field and sank all four free throws.
The 6-foot-8 junior forward worked on his main weakness _ outside shooting _ over the summer and has gotten immediate results. Posey, who hit only 6-of-32 3-point attempts last season, has scored 24 and 20 points in the first two games while shooting 14-of-19 from the field. He has made 6 of 7 3-point shots.
Akron returned all five starters from the team that took Xavier to triple overtime last season before losing. Xavier geared its defense to stop Jimmal Ball, who had a career-high 44 in last season’s game. Ball got off only five shots in the first half and finished with 17 points.
A 10-point run put Xavier in control 19-8 six minutes into the game. Point guard Gary Lumpkin, whose main job was to guard Ball, had a 3-pointer and a dunk during the spurt.
Four players scored in a 9-2 run that made it 55-36 late in the first half, and Xavier’s full-court pressure set up a 16-4 run at the start of the second half that pushed the lead to 28 points.