By: Brent Raines ~Staff Writer~
Xavier men’s basketball could not sustain its brief road success as the Musketeers fell to the Seton Hall Pirates 90-82 in a high-scoring, foul-plagued affair on Jan. 31 in South Orange, N.J.
The loss knocked the Muskies to 14-8 overall and 5-5 in conference play, leaving them tied with DePaul for sixth in the standings.
Just four days after picking up its first conference road win and a season sweep of 25th-ranked Georgetown, Xavier entered the Prudential Center with a chance to do the same against the reeling Pirates (15-6, 5-4) who have lost three straight and have won only one of their last five.
Xavier beat No. 19 Seton Hall 69-58 on Jan. 7 in th Cintas Center.
After a slow start, a jumper by junior forward James Farr gave the Muskies their largest lead at 31-24 with 4:43 left in the first half. That lead was not sustained through the end of the half, and Seton Hall entered the break with a 38-37 lead.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair, with eight lead changes between the two teams. Xavier held its last lead at the 4:21 mark, when a Remy Abell jumper gave the Muskies a 75-73 lead.
A nine-point Seton Hall run put the Pirates, whose 90 points were a season-high, up for good.
Starting in just his fourth game, New Jersey native Myles Davis led the starters with 12 points after scoring 19 points and starring in the win over Georgetown.
Efficiency was a problem for Davis, who shot 3-12 from the field and went 0-7 from behind the arc. The whole team combined for just 1-19 from the 3-point line.
Coming off of the bench, freshman forward Trevon Blueitt led Xavier in scoring with 19 points while sophomore forward Jalen Reynolds scored 17 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in just 15 minutes.
On the other side, Seton Hall got a spark from the return of highly-touted freshman guard Isaiah Whitehead, who had missed the last nine games with a stress-fracture in his foot.
Junior guard Sterling Gibbs and Whitehead led the Pirates in scoring with 22 and 19 points.
The game was especially physical and six technical fouls were picked up by the two teams.
Reynolds and freshman guard J.P. Macura earned their technical fouls for skirmishes in the first half while Myles Davis picked one up in the second half.
Xavier’s defense has seen improvement in recent games. More effective play on defense has led to more forced turnovers and stops that lead to transition scores.
Offensively, things are starting to get back on track.
Moving the ball through redshirt senior center Matt Stainbrook in the low post opens new scoring oppotunities as he draws the double team and dishes the ball outside for open shots.
As players like Myles Davis and Bluiett step up, it takes some important responsibility from the senior leaders.
Senior point guard Dee Davis and Stainbrook are able to be more role players rather than players who need to always step forward and take control.
For their efforts in both games last week, Myles Davis earned his third appearance on the Big East Weekly Honor Roll while Blueitt was named Big East Rookie of the Week for the second time.
Xavier returns to Cintas Center on Feb. 4 with a matchup against the Creighton Bluejays. The game tips off at 9 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.