Xavier came into this game having been treading water since the turn of the year. A meaningful conference winning streak was hard to come by, and X was 16-9 (7-6) and not feeling all that comfortable about the impending NCAA tournament when St. John's came to Cintas on Valentine's Day. Xavier got up 13-3 early but St. John's stormed back to make the game nip and tuck the rest of the way. Dee broke a two and a half minute dry spell with a layup at the 1:39 mark to make it a one-possession game, and Xavier settled in on defense needing one more stop to have a chance to tie at home.
Rysheed Jordan made 3 with 1:01 remaining, -27% win probability. The possession could not have played out any worse. St. John's used up the entire shot clock before Jordan's three, silencing the home crowd and neatly emasculating Xavier's chances of coming back in the game. What had looked like a life-giving 35 second defensive stand turned into half a minute of precious game time frittered away before a complete dagger to the heart.
Xavier went 0-5 with a turnover in the last minute, giving away in increments whatever chance they had left to win the game. St. John's tacked on one more basket to run the final margin to 78-70 in a gutting loss. Xavier then went 7-2 against teams not named Villanova the rest of the way.
What we said at the time:
"Once Xavier's three-point shooting went cold and the Muskies didn't pummel the ball inside, the writing was on the wall here because of how badly they defended."
"I think these guys can and will answer the bell now that there is pretty much no margin for error. Need a must-win attitude for at least the next 2 games."