XU Suffers First Loss of Season, Falling to Wisconsin in Gavitt Tipoff Games
The Xavier Musketeers dropped their first game of the season on Tuesday evening, falling to the visiting Wisconsin Badgers, 77-68, in the Gavitt Tipoff Games before a crowd of 10,312 at Cintas Center. X had no answers for 6-11 Ethan Happ, a preseason AP All-American, as he led the charge for the Badgers, scoring a game-high 30 points while grabbing 13 rebounds. The Muskies never led in the game, digging out of holes in both the first and second halves. In the end, Wisconsin proved to be too much for XU on this night as the visiting Big Ten foe broke Xavier's non-conference home winning streak of 41 straight games that dated back to 2012. Xavier was led by sophomore Naji Marshall who notched career highs of 24 points and 13 boards.
In the first half, Wisconsin went ahead early and built a lead a large as 11 points. Xavier clawed its way back, closing the margin to two points at half on a Marshall layup past Happ on the left side as the buzzer sounded for halftime.
After intermission, Wisconsin came out blazing and quickly rebuilt its lead and more. UW led by as many as 18 points, their largest lead of the game, with 7:36 to go in the second half. Wisconsin's inside-outside offense proved to be a challenge for Xavier as they hurt X from behind the arc, hitting 9-of-16 3-point field goals for 56.3%. The Musketeers, meanwhile, struggled from long range and from the foul line, hitting just 20.8% (5-of-24) and 56.3% (9-of-16), respectively.
In addition to Marshall's team-high output, the X-Men were led by graduate transfer, Zach Hankins, who played a strong game for X, finishing with a double-double of 11 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Junior point guard Quentin Goodin added 13 points and five assists for X, but shot the ball just 5-of-18 from the field and 1-of-8 from 3-point range.
The Musketeers must quickly regroup from the loss as they travel to play in the Maui Classic which starts next week. Xavier will face-off against No. 9 Auburn in the first game of the tournament on Monday, November 19 at 2:30 p.m. EST. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.