XU Hoops: Musketeers’ Season Over

Xavier lost to Texas in overtime Sunday, 78-76. XU (19-16, 10-10, 93rd) was on the road for the NIT sweet sixteen matchup. Tyrique Jones scored 22 points on 10-12 shooting and had 11 rebounds for Xavier. The Muskies’ Naji Marshall scored 19 points (7-17), and Zach Hankins added 13 (6-8). Texas’ (18-16, 8-11, 74th) Kerwin Roach II scored 21 points, and (6-13) and Jase Febres had 17 (6-10).  Xavier finishes the 2018-19 season in 4th place (tie) in the Big East regular Season, semifinalists in the Big East Tournament, and NIT 2nd round participants. This was Travis Steele’s first season as head coach. Next season Xavier will begin play in the Charleston Classic, which features teams that include Florida, Miami, UConn, and Buffalo.

Zach Hankins scored 13 points, but was unable to score on the final play of the game (Nick Wagner/American Statesman).

XU Hoops: Xavier Extends Season, Beats Toledo

Xavier defended home court Wednesday night by defeating Toledo 78-64. The No. 3 seed Musketeers (19-15, 10-10, 86th) were led by Naji Marshall, who scored 20 points and had 21 rebounds in the contest. Marshall made nine consecutive free throws, as well. Tyrique Jones went seven of 11 from the field for X, scoring 14 points. No. 6 seed Toledo (24-8, 13-6, 41st) was led by Jaelen Sanford, who scored 23 points on eight of 17 shooting and six made free throws. This game was part the round of 32 in the NIT. Xavier now advances to the NIT Sweet Sixteen. XU will play at No. 2 seed Texas (17-16, 8-11, 84th) Sunday 4 PM. TV: ESPN Radio: 700 WLW

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Naji Marshall (13) had a career night, scoring 20 and having 18 rebounds (Gary Landers).

The 2019 NIT bracket is ready for the Second Round schedule.

XU Hoops: Xavier Falls to Nova’ in OT

Xavier came up excruciatingly short of the Big East Finals, losing to Villanova in overtime in the semifinals, 71-67. XU (18-15, 10-10, 97th) was unable to hold a seven-point lead in the final minutes. The Musketeers were led by Paul Scruggs (28) and Zach Hankins (18) in scoring.  Villanova (24-9, 15-5, 22nd) was able to rally behind Phil Booth (28) and Jermaine Samuels (17), who both made clutch three-pointers late in the game. The Musketeers will be headed to the NIT where they will host a game TBD.

Paul Scruggs scored 28 points in the semis’. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports).

The 2019 Big East Tournament title is Villanova vs. Seton Hall.

XU Hoops: Xavier Bursts Creighton’s Bubble

The Musketeers defeated the Creighton Blue Jays 63-61 Thursday in the Big East Quarterfinals. Xavier (18-14, 10-9, 88th) was able to advance to the semifinals thanks in large part to Zach Hankins. The center was 11 of 15 from the field, scoring 22 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and tipping in the game-winning shot. Naji Marshall (11) and Kyle Gastlin (10) scored in double-digits as well. Gastlin’s block at the end of the game sealed the victory. The Blue Jays (17-14, 9-10, 80th) were on the fence regarding the NCAA tournament, but now are on the outside. Creighton’s Ty-Shon Alexander scored 21 points in the loss. The Big East Tournament is down to four teams: Villanova, Xavier, Marquette, and Seton Hall. Xavier will play 6:30 PM Friday night versus Villanova (23-9, 14-5, 26th) at Madison Square Garden. TV: FS1 Radio: 550 WKRC

Xavier celebrates the 63-61 victory over Creighton (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

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XU Hoops: Muskies Defend Home Court

Xavier took care of St. John’s Saturday night 81-68. XU (17-14, 9-9, 94th) was able to beat the Red Storm (20-11, 8-10, 55th) the second time this season with help from Paul Scruggs and his 22 points. The Muskies’ played without star guard Naji Marshall, but that didn’t stop Scruggs or Ryan Welage (19) from scoring. Zach Hankins (12) and Tyrique Jones (10) also scored in double-digits, and had seven rebounds each. St. John’s was led by LJ Figueroa (20), Shamorie Ponds (19), and Justin Simon (13) in points. The Red Storm remain on the bubble, but are fading. Xavier, meanwhile, will have to win the conference tournament to get into the NCAA Tournament. X will play Creighton (17-13, 9-9, 70th) in New York City, Thursday at 2:30 p.m. in the Big East Tournament Quarterfinals. TV: FS1 Radio: 700 WLW

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Zach Hankins (35) has raised the roof all year, and scored 12 points Saturday (AP/ John Minchillo).

2019 Big East Tournament

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2018-19 Final Big East Standings

Note: There is a four-way tie for third, and a three-way tie for eighth. Tiebreaker here is overall record, but for conference tournament other tiebreakers are used.

Villanova 13-5 22-9
Marquette 12-6 1 23-8
Georgetown 9-9 4 19-12
Seton Hall 9-9 4 18-12
Creighton 9-9 4 18-13
Xavier 9-9 4 17-14
St. John’s 8-10 5 20-11
Providence 7-11 6 17-14
DePaul 7-11 6 15-14
Butler 7-11 6 16-15

XU Hoops: Muskies’ Fall at Butler

Xavier’s five-game winning streak was snapped at Butler Tuesday, losing 71-66. Butler (16-14, 7-10, 89th) avenged its earlier loss in front of a near-capacity crowd on senior night.  The Musketeers (16-14, 8-9, 101st) were led by Tyrique Jones and Paul Scruggs who each had 13 points in a tightly contested matchup. Butler was led by Kamar Baldwin (24) and “crowd favorite” Paul Jorgenson (19) in scoring for the Bulldogs’ last home game. Xavier is now tied for fourth place in the Big East, and currently holds the tiebreaker over St. John’s. XU will host St. John’s (20-10, 8-9, 49th) Saturday for senior day/regular season finale at 5 PM. TV: FOX Radio: 700 WLW

Quentin Goodin (3) had seven points in the contest (Russo/USA Today).

2018-19 Big East Standings

Villanova 13-4 22-8
Marquette 12-4 0.5 23-6
Georgetown 8-8 4.5 18-11
St. John’s 8-9 5 20-10
Xavier 8-9 5 16-14
Seton Hall 7-9 5.5 16-12
Creighton 7-9 5.5 16-13
Butler 7-10 6 16-14
Providence 6-10 6.5 16-13
DePaul 6-10 6.5 14-13

XU Hoops: Musketeers Make it Five in a Row

Xavier won its fifth consecutive game Thursday night at St. John’s 84-73. Naji Marshall again led the Musketeers (16-13, 8-8, 93rd) with 31 points, a career-high. Quentin Goodin added 13 points for Xavier, while Zach Hankins (11) and Tyrique Jones (11/10) also contributed. LJ Figueroa scored 23 points and Shamorie Ponds had 13 points and six assists for the Red Storm (20-9, 8-8, 44th). The victory is one of the strongest this season, and the best road victory thus far for Xavier.  Once in last place, Xavier is now tied for third place in the Big East.The Muskies’ will visit Butler (15-13, 6-9, 90th) Tuesday at 6:00 PM. TV: FS1 Radio: 700 WLW

Naji Marshall, who scored 31 points, drives past Bryan Trimble Jr. during St. John's 84-73 loss to Xavier on Thursday night.

Naji Marshall (13) scored a career-high 31 points (Ny Post/Sipkin).

2018-19 Big East Standings

Marquette 12-3 23-5
Villanova 12-4 0.5 21-8
St. John’s 8-8 4.5 20-9
Xavier 8-8 4.5 16-13
Georgetown 7-8 5 17-11
Seton Hall 7-8 5 16-11
Butler 6-9 6 15-13
Creighton 6-9 6 15-13
Providence 6-10 6.5 16-13
DePaul 5-10 7 13-13




XU Hoops: Xavier Keeps Rolling, Beats ‘Nova

Xavier chose a good time to play its best basketball, by winning four games in a row, and beating Villanova at home 66-54 Sunday. Naji Marshall had 17 points for the Musketeers (15-13, 7-8, 102nd). Marshall was a major catalyst in the 17-0 run XU had in the second half that broke the game wide open. Phil Booth had 14 points for the Wildcats (20-8, 11-4, 30th), but 12 of those came in the first half. This win is only the second time Xavier has beaten Villanova in 13 past meetings. The Muskies’ will play at St. John’s (20-8, 8-7, 36th) Thursday night at 6:30 PM. TV: FS1 Radio: 700 WLW

Naji Marshall had 17 points in XU’s fourth straight victory (USA Today Sports/Victores).

XU Hoops: Xavier Survives for Third Straight Win

Xavier was able to hold on for a major victory at Seton Hall, 70-69 Wednesday. Naji Marshall’s 28 points led the way for XU (14-13, 6-8, 117th). Tyrique Jones was menacing, mainly in the first half. He finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double. The Pirates (16-10, 7-7, 65th) were led by Myles Cale’s 21 points. Despite, a 16-point lead with under six minutes to play, Xavier allowed Seton Hall to come back. The Pirates had a good chance at winning but missed buzzer-beating shot. The Musketeers will continue with a tough matchup at home versus Villanova (20-7, 11-3, 22nd) Sunday at 1:30 PM. TV: CBS Radio: 550 WKRC

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Naji Marshall’s 28 points led all scorers (The Enquirer).

XU Hoops: Xavier Pounds Providence

Xavier avenged an earlier loss to Providence, by winning 75-61 in Rhode Island on Saturday. The Musketeers (13-13, 5-8, 126th) have won back-to-back games after besting Creighton earlier this week. Tyrique Jones had a double-double for Xavier, scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Naji Marshall (14), Zach Hankins (13), and Quentin Goodin (13) all were in double digits. Nate Watson had 16 points for the Friars (14-12, 4-9, 111th). Xavier plays Seton Hall (15-9, 6-6, 57th) on the road Wednesday at 7 PM. TV: CBSSN Radio: 700 WLW

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Tyrique Jones (0) had 19 points and 12 rebounds Saturday (The Enquirer)

Big East Standings

#13 Villanova 11-1 20-5
#10 Marquette 10-2 1 21-4
St. John’s 6-6 5 18-7
Seton Hall 6-6 5 15-9
Butler 6-7 5.5 15-11
Georgetown 5-7 6 15-10
DePaul 5-8 6.5 13-11
Xavier 5-8 6.5 13-13
Creighton 4-8 7 13-12
Providence 4-9 7.5 14-12