Muskies Hang on for Road Win Against St. John's
By Andy Mac Williams, 12/29/2022

Xavier dominated for 30 minutes (leading by 18) survived a late St Johns push and wound up beating the Johnnies 84-79 on their home court in Queens. Muskies win their 7th in a row(now 11-3 overall, 3-0 BIG EAST-tied for 1st with #2 rated UConn and 3-0 on the road). Up next a head to head against the 14-0 UConn Huskies Saturday (New Years Eve at Cintas(Noon Tip-TV BIG FOX). UConn bested Villanova Wednesday 74-66. XU shredded the hectic St Johns press most of the game using their patient flow passing game to get any shot they wanted. STJ caused some problems with their match-up zone but X dissected their primary defense-clubbed them on the glass 48-36 and throttled star BIG Joel Soriano most of the night.

Muskie BIGS Jack Nunge and Zach Freemantle thrived inside. Jack scored 23 w/ 12 rebounds and 3 assists. Zach went for 14 and 9 and drained a HUGE "3" w/ 4 minutes left on a nifty throwback assist from a driving Souley Boum to put X ahead 80-70. Not quite BALL GAME OVER, but close! PG Boum canned 6 Fts at winning time to salt the game away.

Souley scored 17 w/ 6 assists and 5 rebounds playing all 40 minutes. X seemingly wore down over the final 5 minutes, but booked another road win. St John's 1st loss at Carnesecca Arena(were 8-0). X had not beaten STJ in NYC in almost 3 years and that win was at MSG. Muskie bench chipped in 16 points. Jerome Hunter(8 points-10 rebounds) banged hard. Des Claude used his size to help crack the Red Storm press and muscle St Johns smaller guards Curbelo and Alexander.

Any road win in the BIG EAST is to be celebrated. Xavier validated their newly minted Top 25 rankings(#22 AP-#25 Coaches Poll).

UConn beat Villanova 74-66 in Hartford without shooting the ball that well. Soph wing Jordan Hawkins sniped for 22. Huskies knocked down a ton of FTs and forced 18 Nova turnovers. Their 9 man rotation is impressive thus 14-0, 3-0 BIG EAST w/ wins over Oregon, Alabama, Iowa St, Oklahoma St, Florida and now Villanova. #1 Purdue and New Mexico are the only other unbeaten teams among 363 in D-1.

BIG EAST Standings: XU and UConn (3-0), PC (2-0), Creighton and Marquette(2-1), Villanova(1-1), St Johns (1-2), Butler, DePaul, Georgetown and Seton Hall (0-2). PC at Butler Thursday (6:30-FS1). Georgetown at DePaul (8 PM EST-FS2).

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