CINCINNATI (AP) — J.P. Macura scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half as Xavier surged ahead to stay, and the 21st-ranked Musketeers sent No. 16 Baylor to its first loss of the season, 76-63 on Tuesday night.
The Musketeers (6-1) recovered from their first loss — against Arizona State — by controlling the boards and putting together decisive runs in each half. They never trailed after an opening 21-8 spurt.
Kaiser Gates also had 19 points for Xavier, including a 3-pointer that blunted the Bears’ final comeback attempt.
Baylor (5-1) was riding momentum from the championship of Hall of Fame Classic, which featured wins over Wisconsin and Creighton. The Bears beat Wisconsin despite going the final 8 minutes without a field goal, and then rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half to beat Creighton.
The Bears fell behind by 14 in the second half, but couldn’t recover this time. Terry Maston led with 15, all in the first half.
Xavier has won 34 straight nonconference home games, with the last loss 56-55 to Wofford on Dec. 22, 2012. The Musketeers are 232-35 all-time at the Cintas Center.
Baylor: Despite their loss on Tuesday, the Bears have played well overall against ranked teams in the last two years. They went 6-3 against ranked opponents last season, including a school-record four wins over Top 10 teams. One of them was a 76-61 victory over No. 7 Xavier last Dec. 3.
Xavier: The Musketeers’ defense was their main concern coming off a 102-86 loss to Arizona State on Friday. They were good at the outset, holding the Bears to 1-of-8 shooting that helped them get the lead and made plays down the stretch to hold on. They also dominated in rebounds 38-28.
Baylor hosts No. 8 Wichita State on Saturday, giving the Bears back-to-back games this week against ranked teams.
Xavier hosts No. 11 Cincinnati, which is 7-0 going into their annual crosstown rivalry game. Xavier has won seven of the last 10 in the series. The Musketeers have won all seven of the rivalry games played at the Cintas Center.