At 3:49 remaining in the first half, it looked like the same story we have seen from Xavier this season. Then after a tough timeout where Travis Steele challenged his team to fight back in the game. It all changed.
Xavier responded to the challenge with a 12-0 run to end the half with an insane coast-to-coast finish from Sophmore wing Naji Marshall to cut the Georgetown lead down to five points.
The run ended at 17-0 to make the game a 39-39 tie. After Georgetown took the two point lead, Elias Harden hit a huge three to give Xavier a one point lead. After Georgetown made the game a 54-52 fight, Xavier took over from there. The Musketeers emphasis was definitely on Georgetown center Jessie Govan who while he had a solid 27 point, 8 rebound performance, The Musketeers were able to take out the rest of the team.
For the first time this year Steele started both Zach Hankins and Tyrique Jones and both guys responded to the challenge. Hankins had his D-1 career high in points with 23 points and 10 rebounds while Jones added 19 points and 10 rebounds. Both guys mentioned they had been bugging Coach Steele about using them together and finally got their wish with Quentin Goodin being out of this game.
Travis Steele also emphasizes a rule of 11 turnovers or less for his team during games. He was very pleased to see his team only had four. "It needs to be that way every game." Steele said. "I'd love 4 turnovers every game. That was huge. Georgetown plays like the floor is tilted, they play down hill. They are the 11th fastest team in the country in pace of play on offense so we really had to take care of the ball.
Xavier also got a boost from Paul Scruggs and Naji Marshall each playing the full 40 Minutes. "We're going to play the guys who are going to help us win in the moment. I didn't think there was a moment where I could take Paul out or Naji out. I thought they both were playing hard they didn't ask to be taken out." Xavier is now 10-7 and 2-2 in the Big East.
Next up for Xavier a Sunday Noon tip-off vs the Butler Bulldogs.