Musketeers Let Game Slip Away vs Friars 79-75



(Photo by Trent Grayson)

Going into Wednesday night the Xavier Musketeers once again found themselves in a must-win game. This time at home vs a team they had already defeated earlier in the season, the Providence Friars.

Going into Wednesdays game looking for a spark for a team on a two-game losing streak who hadn't played in a week, Sean Miller made a change in the starting lineup going with Sasa Ciani over Abou Ousmane, though Ciani was subbed out for Ousmane at the first media timeout of the game.


Xavier's offense got rolling early in the first half with their first three made field goals all being from beyond the perimeter. Through the first half the Musketeers played physical defense, forcing turnovers and also sharing the ball really well offensively not turning the ball over until they picked up their ninth assist.


Providence was able to fight back though going on an 11-1 scoring run and even taking the lead with just under four minutes to go in the half. Xavier quickly responded with a layin by Dayvion McKnight and an Abou Ousmane basket that was meant to be a pass to get the lead back, and looking to none other than Quincy Olivari to knock down a three for Xavier to go into the half with the 38-33 lead. Olivari had 14 first half points while McKnight provided nine of his own along with five assists and three rebounds.


The second half got off to a wild start with Xavier getting up to a seven point lead before Providence got their offense rolling when Jayden Pierre knocked down a big three-pointer. Both teams were trading baskets for a few minutes where Xavier kept Providence from taking the lead until the 5:22 mark when Pierre made another 3 giving Providence the 71-69 lead. During this stretch Xavier was just 1 for 15 from the floor, and weren't able to get their offense going.


The Friars were up to an 8 point lead with 3:02 left in the game. Xavier made one last boost after an Ousmane basket cut the game to just four points. Shortly after Desmond Claude made a turn around jumper to make it a two-point game with just under 30 seconds remaining.


On the next possession, Xavier's defense was able to force a back court violation giving them the ball with a chance to tie or win the game.


Desmond Claude took the ball and drove to the rim looking to tie the game but was blocked by Davonte Gaines, who was then fouled and knocked down both free throws to seal the victory for Providence 79-75.


Free Throw Woes:

In a close, hard fought game Xavier was 14-23 from the free-throw line.


Abou Shines off the bench:

Abou Ousmane came off the bench during Wednesday's game, he had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. This was Ousmane's first double digit scoring performance since the Georgetown performance January 19th.


Outside Looking In:


Now on a three-game losing streak, the Musketeers tourney chances look even slimmer. At 13-14, and 7-8 in the Big East. As February winds down, the Musketeers are in dire need of a string of victories to make a case for the NCAA tournament.


Up next:


Xavier heads on the road on Sunday to face #7 Marquette at the Fiserv Forum. Tip-Off will be at 5 PM EST and the game will air on FS1.



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