CINCINNATI (AP) — Semaj Christon and Brad Redford lifted the Xavier offense when the Musketeers needed it most.
Christon had 18 points and Redford came off the bench and made four consecutive 3-pointers to propel Xavier to a 62-55 win over Kent State on Sunday.
The Musketeers played without their leading scorer, Justin Martin, who suffered a mild concussion late in Thursday's loss to Vanderbilt. Martin has posted double-figure scoring in each of Xavier's first eight games.
"We knew we were going to be missing a talented player," Xavier coach Chris Mack said. "But we talked about how we were going to play on the defensive end."
The Musketeers squandered a 13-point second-half lead in the loss to Vanderbilt. They weren't going to let it happen again.
"Offense comes and goes but defense stays the same," said the hot-shooting Redford. "We were able to hang together and hit some shots. We were out of sync the first 20 minutes."
The Musketeers scored just 18 points in the first half and trailed 20-18 at the break. Redford scored 11 points and Christon scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half to allow Xavier (7-2) to avoid its second consecutive home loss.
"Our kids did a phenomenal job on defense," Mack said. "We made a lot of adjustments and they executed them."
Kent State (5-6) was led by Melvin Tabb's 20 points and 14 rebounds, both game-highs, but lost for the third straight time.
The Golden Flashes started out like they were going to run away from Xavier, scoring the first nine points of the game, but the Musketeers used a 10-2 run to get back into it.
Xavier put the game out of reach with a 12-0 second-half run. Dee Davis scored 10 points for the Musketeers. Travis Taylor led Xavier with nine rebounds.
Tabb scored five points in a 7-0 run for Kent State to pull within five with 4:10 remaining, but Xavier held on.