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X-TRA PAINFUL: Musketeers Fight Back to Gut Georgetown in the End, 92-91

Hoyas led at Xavier for 36 minutes in this one, but Xavier survives

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Xavier Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Your Georgetown Hoyas (8-10, 1-6) had the Xavier Musketeers (10-8, 4-3) on the ropes but could not finish the battle at the Cintas Center on Friday night leading to a 92-91 defeat. In a physical game, with 38 total fouls called, the Hoyas led most of the game, including down the stretch, until a missed layup by Jayden Epps led to a transition dunk that put Xavier up one. With a chance to win it, Epps (30 points, 11 assists; 8-18 FG, 3-5 3PT) was double teamed and Ed Cooley’s final play dissolved into chaos. One extra bucket or one fewer foul was all that stood in the way of a Georgetown road win. This was a different piercing pain than what Hoya fans have recently felt, but hopefully the pain is another learning experience for the young Georgetown squad.

In the first half, Georgetown started slow but ended up pouring it on for a a couple runs to lead 43-38 at intermission. Jay Heath led the Hoyas with 13 first-half points hitting four of his five three-point attempts. Epps had 9 points on three for eight shooting from the floor along with seven assists in the half. Ismael Massoud made 2-3 three pointers. Drew fielder hit his only three pointer of the half. Overall the Hoyas shot 8 for 11 from the perimeter (72.7% ) and were shocking everyone in Cincinnati and beyond. playing quickly, the Hoyas had 7 turnovers in the half and there were three forwards who had two fouls apiece, foretelling some worrisome issues in the latter half.

Xavier made its first-half hay with transition buckets, even running off of several of Georgetown’s scores for easy points. Xavier lead on points in the paint in the first half 16 to 10, while Georgetown led on second-chance points in the half, 12 to 6. The Hoyas had a slim margin on rebounds in the half, 19 to 17, while Xavier lead on points off of turnovers 11 to 7. Each team made five free throws, however Xavier had attempted 10 of them and Georgetown only attempted 6.

The second half was a different approach for the Hoyas. While the key to Georgetown's great first half was hitting 8 three pointers, the latter half focused on Epps driving. Apps had 21 points in the second-half on five or ten shooting from the floor, 2 for four from three pointer, and a perfect nine for 9 from the charity stripe. He only had four assists in the second-half but he did secure the double double with eleven overall assists and 30 points for the game.

Styles looked his usual solid during the second-half with eight points, shooting 4-9 from the field (game 6-14 FG; 0-2 3PT; 40 min) and hitting a nice jump shot out of a horns set. He missed his only three-point attempt. Supreme Cook (game 13 pts, 5-6 FG, 8 reb) added nine second-half points, shooting 3 for four from the field and making all three of his free throws, along with adding six rebounds in the latter half in 11 minutes.

Looking elsewhere for help, the second-half was not terrific for the Hoyas as the once-hot Jay Heath went 1-8 in the second period missing all three of his three-point field goals and scoring only five points. Like Styles, Heath played the entire 40 minutes.

Ismael Massoud also turned cold making only 1-3 of his three-point field goals in 12 minutes of play in the second. Drew Fielder had some solid second-half defensive plays in 6 minutes but missed his only field goal attempt, a good looking three pointer.

Xavier never gave up. Xavier always projected strength. The Musketeers were always the aggressors in this one and it paid off at the line (15-19 2nd half FTs).

Olivari continued forcing his will and scored 15 second-half points on 4 for eight shooting, 2 for three from the perimeter and adding five or six from the free throw line. McKnight scored eleven points in the second, shooting 3 for four from the field and adding five of seven free throw attempts. Claude scored 12 points in the latter half, shooting 4 for seven from the field and had 6 second-half assists. Claude never heated up from three, missing his 2 attempts, but he did make four of his five free throws. Ousmane was 3-3 from the field in the second (game 10 pts, 4-5 FGs, 7 reb).

Xavier again beat Georgetown on the points in the paint 30 to 20, as well as bench points 8:00 to 2:00, however the Hoyas again one on second chance points 9:00 to 4:00 in the second-half. Each team had 19 second-half rebounds, but Xavier had six points off turnovers while Georgetown only had two the second-half did not have many turnovers with the Hoyas only having three in the latter half and the Musketeers only having two. However, there were plenty of fouls in this physical half where is Georgetown making 15 of 15 free throws with 13 personal fouls and Xavier making 15 of 19 free throws and having nine personal fouls.

For the game Massoud, Cook, and Fielder each had 4 fouls in under 20 minutes of playing time. For Xavier, only Ousmane had four fouls (in 33 minutes).

Epps led all scorers with 30 points and the Hoyas had four players in double figures. That will happen when you score 91 points.

The problem was Xavier scoring 54 points in the second half (18-32 FG, 3-9 3PT) and never letting Georgetown pull away. The Hoyas had no field goals the last 3 minutes of the game and instead maintained their lead from the line, until the end.

With the physicality and foul-trouble, there was certainly a measure of no-foul defense at the end by the Hoyas that allowed the last two easy buckets at the rim for Xavier. However, the transition defense was struggling throughout this one and it was going to take out-scoring Sean Miler’s Musketeers in order to steal a road loss tonight.

The final play, set up out of a Cooley timeout, had Epps at the top with Styles, Heath, Cook, and Bristol on a line towards the baseline. As the clock wound down, and a mystery Hoya was supposed to pop up and set a screen, Xavier double-teamed Epps and Heath had to leak out. Heath had a look at a floater but nothing was falling for him this half. The Hoyas tipped the rebound twice but Xavier came down with it and the clock expired.