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
Naji Marshall (13) had a career night, scoring 20 and having 18 rebounds (Gary Landers).
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)
At long last, Xavier was able to secure a victory, 64-61 OT over Creighton Wednesday night. The overtime victory snaps a six-game losing streak for Xavier (12-13, 4-8, 133rd). The Musketeers were led by Naji Marshall’s 23 points. Tyrique Jones (12) and Zach Hankins (10) also reached double digits. Martin Krampelj led the Blue Jays (12-12, 4-8, 102nd) with 18 points. The season for Xavier has been very disappointing, but is it salvageable? At this point, X is hoping for an overall winning record. That is no guarantee in the Big East conference. The only guaranteed postseason for the Muskies’ is the conference tournament in New York City. Any hopes of playing after that, will depend on how Xavier fares in Madison Square Garden. XU will play Providence (14-11, 4-8, 98th) Saturday at 2 PM in Rhode Island. TV: FOX Radio: 700 WLW
Naji Marshall’s 23 points and clutch play helped X win (The Enquirer)