By: Josh Bozzick ~Staff Writer~
Three weeks ago, Xavier took down Villanova for the first time in seven tries as a member of the Big East.
The game was predicted to be the biggest in Cintas Center history and it certainly lived up to the hype. Xavier won 90-83, thanks to six players scoring in double-digits. Redshirt freshman guard Edmond Sumner and sophomore guard J.P. Macura led the Musketeers with 19 points apiece.
The last time Xavier played host to the No. 1 ranked team was against Cincinnati in the 1998- 1999 season. Played at Xavier’s then home, the Cincinnati Gardens, the Musketeers won that game on a last-second shot.
Entering the home matchup against the Wildcats, Xavier was 3-10 all-time against No. 1 ranked teams. The last No. 1 ranked win for them came against the St. Joseph Hawks in 2004 during the Atlantic-10 tournament.
Having the chance to play host to the No. 1 team in the nation during conference play is one of the many reasons Xavier has benefited from joining the Big East. This season alone, Xavier has played four top-10 matchups, all of them coming in conference play.
An announced crowd of 10,727, the largest ever to see a game at Cintas, truly brought wellrested vocal chords. The crowd noise was deafening at times, as the overcapacity crowd released roaring cheers of popular Xavier chants like “Let’s-Go-X,” and “X-A-V-I-E-R”.
This game was big for many reasons, not just because it featured the first No. 1 ranked team to visit the Cintas Center.
Two top five nationally ranked teams had not played a game in Cincinnati since 1959. The last time being between Cincinnati and Bradley. The game was only the third ever matchup between two top-5 ranked non-FBS schools, with the last one coming 20 years ago. That game featured No. 1 Massachusetts and No. 4 Georgetown.
The last time two Catholic schools had met as top five opponents was 31 years — a mindboggling stat. That matchup was a Final Four contest in 1985 between a Patrick Ewing led Georgetown team, and a St. John’s team led by current head coach Chris Mullin.
Redshirt junior guard Myles Davis, who was key throughout the game thanks to four threepointers, summed up the win nicely.
“That was amazing, it’s the stuff you dream about growing up as a little kid,” Davis said after the game. “You want to A, be the No. 1 team, or B, beat the No. 1 team. It’s just breathtaking right now.”
A game that was projected with so much hype cast a clear image of Xavier basketball in one of its finest moments.