Xavier Shows Resilience in 81-75 Win Over Georgetown
After a tough outing against Marquette on Sunday, Xavier desperately needed a victory over a quality Georgetown team in the Cintas Center on Wednesday at 6:30 pm. Despite missing junior point guard Quentin Goodin, the Musketeers were led by big men Zach Hankins and Tyrique Jones to overcome a 17 point deficit and hold on to beat the Hoyas.
It was a rough start to the game as the Hoyas came out on fire on the offensive end. About five minutes into the game, the Hoyas went on a 12-2 run to extend their lead to 21-13 with 12 minutes left in the first half. They continued their dominance on the offensive end with the help of big man Jessie Govan, who finished with 27 points and 8 boards. With just 4 minutes left until halftime, the Hoya lead had grown to 17 points, and Xavier was thrust into a classic fight or flight situation.
They chose to fight.
After switching to a zone defense to confuse the Hoya offense, Xavier was able to force a couple of turnovers and gained momentum on the offensive end with the help of twin towers Zach Hankins and Tyrique Jones. Ending the half on a 12-0 run capped off by a Naji Marshall bucket, Xavier went into the locker room with only a 5 point deficit.
The second half saw Xavier and Georgetown compete in a physical, back and forth battle that reminisced many, including Coach Patrick Ewing, of the old school days in the Big East. Both teams' front-courts exchanged blows, but it was Xavier that was able to maintain a slim lead throughout the end of the game. The Musketeer backcourt was paced by Paul Scruggs and Naji Marshall, who both played all 40 minutes of the game and showed great effort. Xavier also received some big shots off the bench by sophomore sniper Elias Harden, who seemed to gain confidence throughout the game.
The Musketeers were able to execute offensively down the stretch without turning the ball over. Additionally, Xavier was able to knock down key free throws to seal the victory. Despite a dominant effort from Georgetown's Govan, Xavier controlled the points in the paint 48-28. Gritty effort on the defense end with good in-game adjustments by Head Coach Travis Steele allowed Xavier to put together their biggest win of the season despite missing their starting point guard.
Needless to say, it was the most enjoyable and hard fought victory by the Musketeers so far this season. It seems as if this young team is finally starting to put its young pieces of talent together in order to find an identity that is centered on defensive effort and front-court dominance in the paint. Xavier looks to take its next step against Butler on Sunday at noon in the Cintas Center.
All For One!