By: Adam Tortelli ~Staff Writer~
The Xavier men’s basketball team’s woes continued after a home loss to Seton Hall on Saturday and a road defeat at Villanova Monday night. The loss pushes the team to fourth place in the Big East and leaves XU with a 15-7 (5-4) record.
Early games continue to be a struggle for the Xavier men’s basketball team after a 68-60 loss to the visiting Pirates of Seton Hall.
A slow start to Saturday’s matinee at Cintas Center once again plagued the Musketeers as head coach Chris Mack’s team found itself in an early eight point deficit.
Freshman guard Myles Davis’ 3-point field goal sparked an 8-0 run highlighted at the charity stripe to send the Muskies into halftime with a 28-27 lead.
Despite the composure displayed by countering a number of Seton Hall runs, Xavier would last see the lead following senior forward Isaiah Philmore’s five straight points, contributing to a 46-45 edge with 10:22 to go in the game.
The Pirates found salvation behind the 3-point line extending their advantage to as much as nine.
Two tri-captains of sophomore guard Semaj Christon (21 points, six assists, three rebounds) and junior center Matt Stainbrook (16 points, 14 rebounds, three assists) carried the team as far as they could.
Junior small forward Justin Martin cooled off from his stellar conference play for a slow five points in 22 minutes of play.
Two days after their first home loss of the season, the wound continued to grow in a primetime 81-58 trouncing by the Villanova Wildcats who came into the game ranked sixth in the country.
Nearly replicating the result of the women’s team in Philadelphia a week prior, the home Wildcats jumped out to an early 9-0 lead.
Stainbrook slammed the Musketeers onto the scoreboard following three missed shots and three turnovers by Xavier.
A late Muskie surge trimmed Villanova’s lead to six despite 11 turnovers to end the first half. However, the flood gates opened in favor of Villanova when play resumed behind James Bell’s 27 points, Jayvaughn Pinkston’s 11 and Darrun Hillard’s 17 as the Wildcats once again pounced to an early nine point lead.
Another late 15-4 Villanova run would put the game too far out of reach for a Xavier comeback as the home team cruised to victory.The Musketeers were again led by Christon’s 17 points and Stainbrook’s sixth double-double of the season as he recorded 14 and 11.
Some good news came in Martin’s solid second half shooting, regaining his hot conference form.The men’s basketball team looks to get back on track as it seeks revenge on Providence Saturday afternoon before heading to Indianapolis to finish the season series with Butler.