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).
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).
Villanova continued to dominate Xavier on the basketball court, beating Xavier 85-75 in Philadelphia. The Wildcats (14-4, 5-0, 16th) have won six straight as Phil Booth scored 22 points. Collin Gillespie has 18 points, and Eric Paschall added 17. The Musketeers were coming off of wins over Georgetown and Butler. XU (11-8, 3-3, 85th) was led Tyrique Jones’ double-double. He scored 21 points and had 12 rebounds. Naji Marshall scored 15 of his own. Villanova has won 10 out of 11 meetings over Xavier since becoming Big East companions. The Muskies’ will return home to play Providence (11-6, 1-3, 78th) Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. TV: FS1 Radio: 700 WLW
Phil Booth (5) led Villanova with 22 points in an 85-75 win over Xavier. (Charles Fox)