By: Brent Raines ~Staff Writer~
The Xavier men’s basketball team continued its up-and-down play in conference season, winning two out of three games in seven days.
The Musketeers (16-9, 7-6) lost in overtime to last-place Creighton at home before beating Providence at Cintas Center and Marquette on the road in Milwaukee.
The game against Creighton on Feb. 4 (11-14, 2-10) saw the Bluejays notch only their second conference win of the season in a 79-72 overtime thriller. The loss also put the first “L” in Xavier’s previously unblemished home record, snapping an 11-game win streak.
Xavier’s cold shooting from the previous game against Seton Hall continued as it shot just 36.4 percent (14.3 from behind the arc) in the first half, which led to a 32-29 deficit at the break.
Scoring for both teams picked up some in the second half and senior guard Dee Davis split a pair of free throws to tie the game with 35 seconds left.
Sophomore forward Jalen Reynolds led the Muskies with 17 points and eight rebounds, while also picking up a pivotal block with two seconds left to send the game to overtime. Xavier would never lead in the extra period.
On Feb. 7, Xavier welcomed second-place Providence (17-7, 7-4) into Cintas Center and picked up a key conference victory with a 78-69 win.
A tight first half saw 20 lead changes, with Providence carrying a 40-34 lead into the break.
Xavier’s bench impacted the game early and combined for 22 of Xavier’s first half points.
The second half got off to a scary start. Moments after grabbing its team’s largest lead of the game at 8, Providence coach Ed Cooley walked off the court and was taken to a local hospital. He has since been released and plans on coaching the Friars’ next game.
Amidst the confusion, Xavier went on an 18-2 run to grab a 10-point lead with 12 minutes left. Providence would later tie the game but would never regain the lead.
Reynolds and freshman forward Trevon Blueitt both led Xavier in scoring with 19 points apiece, and Davis tied a career high with 15 assists.
For his efforts in those two games, Reynolds was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll.
Xavier picked up a curcial win on the road on Feb. 10 at Marquette, winning 64-44. Tough defense held the Golden Eagles to poor shooting, allowing a comfortable win for Xavier.
Xavier returns to the Cintas Center with a matchup against St. Johns on Feb. 14. Tip-off is at 12:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcast nationally on FOX.