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 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)
Cincinnati was unable to win the AAC, losing to Houston 85-69 on senior day. The Bearcats (25-6, 14-4, 16th) were unable to compete in latter parts of the game, getting outscored by the Cougars (29-2, 16-2, 2nd) 44-22 down the stretch. UC was led by Jarron Cumberland’s 20 points, despite 4-11 shooting. Center Nysier Brooks shot 75% and scored 16 points for the Cats’. The Coogs’ were led by Corey Davis Jr, whose 31 points (10-22) and six assists were too much to handle for Cincy. Houston’s win clinches the AAC championship (regular season). Cincinnati will begin postseason play in the AAC tournament quarterfinals in Memphis, TN. UC will play the winner of the first round game between Tulsa (18-13, 8-10, 92nd) and SMU (14-16, 6-12, 149th) at 7 PM Friday. TV: ESPNU Radio: 700 WLW
Nysier Brooks (33) scored 16 points in the defeat vs. Houston (AP/ John Minchillo).
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
Zach Hankins (35) has raised the roof all year, and scored 12 points Saturday (AP/ John Minchillo).
2019 Big East Tournament
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.
Cincinnati lost a competitive matchup at UCF, 58-55. The Bearcats (25-5, 14-3, 16th) were led by Tre Scott and his 20 point effort. Scott shot nine of 15 from the field, two of three from long-range, and had nine rebounds. Jarron Cumberland added 10 points for UC, but shot less than 30% from the field (5-18). BJ Taylor had 22 points and six rebounds in his final home game for UCF (23-6, 13-4, 17th). Fellow senior Tacko Fall used his 7’6″ frame to score 10 points, grab six rebounds, and block three shots. UC’s Cane Broome came up short on a three-pointer which would have sent the game to overtime. The Cats’ will host Houston (28-2, 15-2, 4th) on senior day on Sunday at noon. TV: CBS Radio: 700 WLW.
UC’s Keith Williams (2) was held to four points at UCF (AP).
Cincinnati continued AAC domination by winning at home vs. Memphis 71-69 Saturday night. The game itself was certainly a nail-biter but a key defensive play (Logan Johnson) prevented Memphis (18-12, 10-7, 67th) from a game-winning shot. The Bearcats (25-4, 14-2, 13th) were led by star guard Jarron Cumberland’s 26 points. Memphis was led by all-American favorite Jeremiah Martin and his 28 points. The Bearcats as of Monday (3/4) are tied with Houston atop the AAC standings, with the Cougars (27-2, 14-2, 4th) holding the tiebreaker (head-to-head). Cincinnati will play the Cougars on senior day Sunday. Before that game, UC will be on the road at UCF (22-6, 12-4, 21st) who just defeated Houston on the road. The game in Orlando will tip-off Thursday at 7 PM. TV: ESPN2 Radio: 700 WLW
Nassir Brooks (33) throws down a dunk against Memphis (Enquirer/USA Today)
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 (13) scored a career-high 31 points (Ny Post/Sipkin).
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
Tyrique Jones (0) had 19 points and 12 rebounds Saturday (The Enquirer)
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
Quentin Goodin (0) scored 13 points in the loss to Creighton (Brandscombe/USA Today Sports)