Here’s a compilation of some of the best Xavier wins in the Chris Mack era
Newswire photo by Sydney Sanders | Chris Mack surpassed Pete Gillen to become the winningest coach in Xavier history with the home victory last Wednesday over St. John’s.
Last week against St. John’s, men’s basketball head coach Chris Mack won his 203rd game, making him the winningest coach in program history.
In light of that win, the following is a list of the 10 best victories he has had during his tenure at Xavier.
10. February 25, 2014: Xavier 65 St. John’s 53
While the game itself may not have been that memorable, the result cemented at least a .500 record for Mack and the Musketeers in the inaugural season of Big East play. This is a testament to Mack and his team at the time – they dove right into a major conference and continued the program’s run of success.
9. March 5, 2011: Xavier 66 St. Louis 55
In the final game of the regular season, Mack coached Xavier to its 15th win of Atlantic 10 action, clinching its fifth straight A-10 regular season championship. This was also Mack’s second straight conference championship as head coach.
8. December 10, 2011: Xavier 76 Cincinnati 53
This game was memorable for more than the brawl that happened in the final seconds of the game. The Bearcats had beaten the Musketeers the previous season, and Mack was not going to let it happen twice in a row. With his team ranked high in the AP poll, he asserted his dominance over the other team in the city with this blowout win.
7. March 13, 2015: Xavier 65 Georgetown 63
During Trevon Bluiett’s freshman year, Coach Mack took his team to Xavier’s first Big East tournament final. While the team lost to Villanova in the championship, this semifinal game against the Hoyas was another major milestone win for Mack.
6. November 20, 2015: Xavier 86 Michigan 70
This was a significant win because it can be viewed as a turning point for the program; a launching pad for the next step for Xavier. The Musketeers entered the season with a lot of talent but just as many question marks, and this was an opportunity against a major conference opponent to prove their mettle. That they did, and they used that as a springboard for an undefeated non-conference season.
5. December 3, 2011: Xavier 66 Purdue 63
With under 10 minutes to play, Xavier trailed by 19 points and had only a two percent chance of winning the game. Behind a miraculous performance from Tu Holloway, Xavier pulled out what is now the second-largest comeback in Cintas Center history.
4. March 21, 2010: Xavier 71 Pittsburgh 68
Not even one full calendar year into his coaching tenure, Mack guided his Musketeers to the Sweet 16 in his first season as head coach. While Xavier went on to lose in a double overtime thriller to Kansas State, Mack’s career at his alma mater was off to a hot start.
3. March 18, 2017: Xavier 91 Florida State 66
There is a very strong argument to be made that this win could even be second, simply because of the sheer dominance witnessed in this performance. Mack out-coached his counterpart on the Florida State sideline in every facet of the game. The Seminoles were the three seed in the region and had an uber-athletic roster, but Mack’s masterful gameplan led Xavier back to the Sweet 16.
2. February 24, 2016: Xavier 90 Villanova 83
In a historic season for the Musketeers, this was a win that ended the drought for a Xavier program that had not beaten Villanova since joining the Big East. In a matchup of two top five teams at the Cintas Center, Coach Mack paved the way for a defining win in his career.
1. March 23, 2017: Xavier 73 Arizona 71
The narrative was in place: Mack was coaching for a spot in the Elite 8 against Sean Miller, whom Mack had been an assistant for during Miller’s time as head coach at Xavier. This was a rematch of the 2015 Sweet 16 game that Xavier almost stole from the Wildcats. This time, Mack prevailed and earned a trip to his first Elite 8.
By: Paul Fritschner ~Staff Writer~