(Photo courtesy of wxyz.com via google images)
With just 22 seconds on the clock, Creighton looked like they were about to hand Xavier their 7th straight loss. But after an inbound error and a Quentin Goodin layup to lead Xavier to Overtime, Naji Marshall continued to find ways to take over the game and give Xavier their first win since January 13th.
"I was really happy for our guys. It's hard to go through adversity like we have over the last six games, being on a six game losing streak, our guys responded and then you have that weird moment in the second half where we were really struggling and then our guys responded again. I just want to see them reap the benefits of what they've been doing every single day in practice. Get rewarded for that." Head Coach Travis Steele said during his press conference celebrating his teams victory.
Naji Marshall was absolutely on fire for the Musketeers tonight. Marshall scored 23 points on 9-22 shooting and also went 5-11 from three point range. Naji also his the floater to give Xavier the lead with a Creighton defender draped all over him to make Creighton have to try and tie the game for a chance to win. "I'm just trying to play my role." Marshall said in response to his performance but his role definitely stood out more than anyone else tonight in this game. Marshall also added 7 rebounds and 5 assists to his monster performance tonight to lead his team to victory.
Xavier went to halftime holding a 36-30 lead but Creighton went on a 12-5 run to start the second half to take a 42-41 lead. After a Ryan Welage three point field goal for Xavier, there was a back and forth fight between both teams until Goodin's layup in the closing seconds. Xavier also did all of this in the second half without starting guard Paul Scruggs who had a rough night and was off the floor from 8:14 to go in the second half through the remainder of the game. Travis Steele described Paul as a "great teammate" through his benching and talked about how excited he was getting for everyone on the floor during the game.
Xavier also got some excellent defense from sophmore Elias Harden who was a +9 for Xavier tonight even without scoring a basket the whole game. Creighton ended the game without scoring the last 4:10 and also missed their last 5 field goal attempts including a wide open 3 from Davion Mintz with a chance to send the game with Double Overtime.
Now that Xavier has picked up their much needed victory, they have a quick turnaround and a travel day in between games. The Musketeers will head to the Pavilion to play the Providence Friars. Their last matchup Providence pulled off the 64-62 victory behind a very good game from star guard Alpha Diallo. This game will be live at 2:00 PM EST on Fox. Xavier is now 12-13 overall with a 4-8 Big East Record.
Tim Daniel is the Director of College Basketball Content here on the 48 Minutes Network and is credentialed to cover the Xavier Musketeers and the Northern Kentucky Norse. If you want to discuss College Basketball with Tim, give him a follow!