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: 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


XU Hoops: Muskies’ Snap Losing Streak

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

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Naji Marshall’s 23 points and clutch play helped X win (The Enquirer)

XU Hoops: Xavier Falls Flat

The Xavier Musketeers lost their sixth game in a row, Saturday night 74-62 vs. DePaul. The Musketeers (11-13, 3-8, 144th) competed for much of the game, only to go cold in last five minutes allowing the Blue Demons (13-9, 5-6, 121st) to go on a 16-0 run. Xavier was led by Naji Marshall, who scored 23 points. Paul Scruggs had 13 points and Quentin Goodin had 12. DePaul’s Max Strus scored 17. XU will still try to snap their losing streak Wednesday vs. Creighton (12-11, 4-7, 85th).  Time: 8:30 p.m. TV: CBSSN Radio: 700 WLW

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Naji Marshall led all scorers with 23 points (Victores/USA Today)



XU Hoops: Muskies’ Fall to Creighton

Xavier lost another tough road game Sunday, this time at Creighton 76-54. The Musketeers (11-12, 3-7, 130th) struggled in the first half, trailing 41-26 at break. It didn’t get much better in the second half. The Blue Jays (12-9, 4-5, 63rd) cruised to a 22 point victory, led by Martin Kempelj’s 23 points. Marcus Zegarowski added 13 points for Creighton. Quentin Goodin had 13 points with seven assists, and Tyrique Jones scored 10 for XU. Xavier has lost five straight games and is in last place in the Big East. The Muskies’ will play DePaul (12-9, 4-6, 138th) Saturday at the Cintas Center. Time: 8 PM TV:  FS1 Radio: 700 WLW

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Quentin Goodin (0) scored 13 points in the loss to Creighton (Brandscombe/USA Today Sports)

Big East Standings

Team                                   Conference                           GB                      Overall

Villanova 9-0 18-4
Marquette 8-1 1 19-3
St. John’s 4-5 5 16-6
Georgetown 4-5 5 14-8
Creighton 4-5 5 13-9
Seton Hall 4-6 5.5 13-9
DePaul 4-6 5.5 12-9
Butler 4-6 5.5 13-10
Providence 3-6 6 13-9
Xavier 3-7 6.5 11-12

XU Hoops: Musketeers Can’t Get out of Own Way

Xavier continues to stumble this season, falling to Georgetown on the road, Thursday night, 80-73. The Musketeers (11-11, 3-6, 121st) have skidded, now losing four games in a road. Georgetown (14-7, 4-4, 70th) was led by James Akinjo who scored 23 points, 10 of those coming in a late rally. Xavier’s Naji Marshall had 16 points and Paul Scruggs had 15. Quentin Goodin scored 14 off the bench. The Muskies’ simply are trying to stay at .500 or above. A first-year head coach, newer players, and an extremely difficult schedule (21st of 350) are wreaking havoc. Xavier plays Creighton (11-9, 3-5, 68th) Sunday at 1 PM. TV: Fox Sports Ohio Radio: 700 WLW.

Paul Scruggs had 15 points in the loss in Washington D.C. (Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)