by Tim Daniel
Another game where Xavier goes into a deep hole, another game where they dig themselves out and almost pull off the victory.
After being down as many as 14 points in the first half, the Musketeers battled back with a big first half from Jack Nunge to cut the deficit to six points at halftime.
From there, the Musketeers' offense kicked in and got into a little bit of a groove.
Xavier shot just 36% as a team in the first half, were 20% from three. and let Providence shoot 40% from three during the half.
With the start of the second half, Zach Freemantle got two buckets to get Xavier going cutting Providence's lead to just two points. After some back and forth battling, Xavier's defense kicked in holding the Friars scoreless for five minutes and 48 seconds up until the final second on the clock where junior guard Jared Bynum hits the game-winning three-pointer to put Providence up 3 and send the Musketeers to their second straight loss.
While this is certainly a tough loss, Travis Steele didn't look phased or discouraged by his team's play. Steele mentioned in his press conference he liked the shots Xavier got through the game and also credited how well they played defensively giving Providence credit for hitting some difficult shots during their run.
Simply put, Xavier hits two more three-pointers in this game, they are victorious and get yet another Q1 victory to help build their NCAA tournament resume. But, in a game where Nate Johnson and Adam Kunkel both go scoreless, Xavier still manages to fight very hard and almost pull off the win.
The Musketeers are now 14-5 overall and are 4-4 in Big East play. Up next for the Musketeers a trip to Creighton to face the Blue Jays for the second time this season. Xavier won the previous matchup two weeks back by a final of 80-73. Creighton also lost tonight playing at Butler with the final being 72-55. Tip-off is at 2 PM and will be broadcasted on FS1.
(photos courtesy of Desmond Fischer of the Xavier Newswire)