by Parker Fields
On a Rainy Day in Cincinnati, there was one big bright spot for the people of Cincinnati. The Xavier Musketeers started off Conference play with a huge win over rival Marquette.
This game started fast, a three by Marquette’s Kam Jones followed by a three by Xavier’s sharpshooter Nate Johnson. From there Marquette was controlling the pace of play early in the game. You could tell from the start against Xavier’s stout half-court defense that Marquette’s game plan was to push the pace. Freshman Justin Lewis came to play early with a couple of tough takes and a three early in the half. From there Xavier bounced back with a steal and score by Senior leader Paul Scruggs.
From there Marquette went on a three-point barrage, taking a 22-14 lead. Nate Johnson hit his second three of the night to stop the bleeding. A back and forth continued during the first half, and then an unlikely star emerged. Sophomore guard Dwon Odom decided to take over the rest of the half with tough finish after tough finish.
Dwon was the spark plug Xavier needed as he had the highlight of the game with a steal and emphatic slam on the Fastbreak that got the Cintas Center rocking. Xavier had completed their comeback during the first half and had a 38-36 lead at the break.
The Second Half started a lot like how the first half finished. It was all Xavier; Nate Johnson came out with another big-time three to force a timeout early. Xavier now had a 7- point lead in this game. From there it was pretty much the same for a long period of time, Xavier would extend the lead to about 10 and then Marquette would come right back and cut it
to about 5. Dwon Odom continued to make big plays into the second half and Jack Nunge came alive in the half. This was until Greg Elliot hit a tough pull-up jump shot followed by a huge three in the corner to cut the Xavier led to 70-69 with about three minutes left to play.
Then Nate Johnson took over. Johnson found Colby Jones for a layup on a beautiful pass, followed by another beautiful pass off a pick and roll to set up Jack Nunge for a dunk.
Then, if the game wasn’t over already Dwon Odom found Nate Johnson in the corner for the dagger three to give Xavier an 8-point lead with 45 seconds to go. The game was over, Xavier had defeated
Marquette by a score of 80-71.
Xavier was led by Dwon Odom with a huge 19 points on 8-9 shooting, Nate Johnson with 17 points on four made threes, and Jack Nunge with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Marquette was led by Greg Elliot with 18 points and Justin Lewis with 15 points. The major difference in this one I believe was the turnover battle. Xavier had just 8turnovers during the entire game, whereas Marquette had 12 which doesn’t seem like a lot, but they were always seemingly at costly times.
Xavier will face a big test in their next game as they Travel to Villanova on Tuesday at 7:00 P.M.
Marquette will look to bounce back from this one as they will be facing another top 25 team in UConn traveling to Marquette.