(Photo Courtesy of the Edwardsville Intelligencer)
For the 37th consecutive season, the Xavier Musketeers finish .500 or better in regular season conference play.
Paul Scruggs lead the way for Xavier on his 21st Birthday with 22 points, 4 assists and six rebounds. Paul started the game scoring eight of Xavier's 10 points and then the rest of the team jumped on the good vibes to keep the Xavier offense rolling. Senior Ryan Welage contributed with 19 points shooting five for eight from three, Zach Hankins had another double digit scoring game with 12 points and seven rebounds and Kyle Castlin completed the Grad Transfer trifecta with 12 points and six rebounds. Xavier has won six of their last seven games after a 7 game losing streak through January and February of the year. "I've been telling you guys all along that we would peak at the right time and we're peaking." Hankins said during the post game presser. The Musketeers were also without sophmore Naji Marshall today who scored a career high 31 points against St. John's in their last matchup.
On the other end, St. John's fought really hard through the game keeping the game close and making plays to stay alive through the end but only managed to have the lead once when they were up 31-30 with 4:27 to go in the first half. St. John's coach Chris Mullin commented on the teams inability to close out the game. "Look when we win we play good defense, perimeter and post and don't get manhandled on the boards. Ball pressure, just being pesty. We got a small team and we need to be more active. A lot of times that's not the case. We're chasing them when they should be chasing us."
Travis Steele spoke very highly of the Musketeers performance. "I don't think there is a ceiling to our team. We're playing our best Basketball so far, but there is still room for growth." Xavier will have a few days off before the Big East Tournament in New York to expand that growth.
Up next for the Musketeers: a Bye in the Big East Tournament but who they will face depends on the results of this evening's DePaul vs Creighton matchup. If Creighton wins, Xavier will face Creighton. If DePaul wins Xavier will face Georgetown. Either way, with the turnaround they had this season, Xavier now controls their own destiny.
Tim Daniel is the director of College Basketball Content here at 48 Minutes. He is also the host of At Large Bid and 48 Minutes on our Podcast network. If you wanna talk hoops with Tim, give him a follow!