St. Johns Takes Down X
Andy Mac Williams,
Xavier edged out onto the NCAA Tournament bubble Wednesday with an 81-66 loss at St Johns. Muskies have now lost 5 straight and 7 of 8.Their #36 NET is sure to tumble w/ a 15 point road defeat although it was a borderline Quad 1 game (St Johns #74 at game time). X is certainly leaking oil at 17-12 overall and 7-11 BIG EAST-now locked into 8th place-w/ cellar dweller Georgetown at Cintas Saturday (7 PM-FS1) to close-out the regular season then a Wednesday 1st Round BET game vs Butler or DePaul looming. Those two games are now seemingly "MUST WINS". Looks like the Thursday Quarterfinal would be against a rested #1 Seed Providence? Muskies played aggressive affective defense most of 1st half vs St Johns, but struggled mightily to score (3-18 FG early).
Nate Johnson returned from injury and knocked down a couple "3s" and XU forged a 24-24 tie going into the under 4 minute TV time-out. Again that final 1st half war was a killer. Johnnies outscored X 9-5 and led 33-29 at the half. Muskies had hope w/ rebounding edge-9 offensive boards-just 3 turnovers and 12 missed lay-ups. X looked tight on offense missing around the rim(11-39FG).
The 1st 2nd half war was a disaster(St Johns won it 11-5 and led by 10) 44-34. XU chased the game the rest of the way. Muskies cut it to 3(52-49 w/ 8:37 left) but Red Storm just took over-banging in "3s" and nailing 12 straight FTs.
Hofstra transfer Tareq Coburn got the Senior Night start and killed XU(20 points-5 for 7 from "3"). The lefty shooter had burned Xavier two weeks ago for 10 at Cintas. Julian Champagnie and Posh Alexander teamed up for 36. XU was roasted from 3 point range again (STJ 8-22, X just 5-30). Muskies coughed up 6 2nd half turnovers and Johnnies took most of those 94 feet for easy scores.
Colby Jones as usual worked his buns off (13 points-6 rebounds). Jack Nunge posted a double-double(12 and 11). Nate potted 11 points in 20 minutes. Not good!
Georgetown lost 73-68 at Seton Hall. The arrive in Cincy 0-18-11th in the 11 team BIG EAST. A Xavier loss would be an NET Quad 4 and total adios to any NCAA berth.
G-town can shoot "3s" w/ Donald Carey and Khadeen Rice. He made 5 at SHU(17 points). Forward Amino Mohammad will make BE All Frosh team. PG Dante Harris was MVP of BET last March when Hoyas won 4 in 4 days and grabbed NCAA automatic bid.
It's Senior Night for Paul Scruggs, Nate Johnson and Ben Stanley. Time to stop the bleeding and gear up for BET at MSG!!!!!