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Xavier and Providence battle to the wire in a top 10 Big East matchup


Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Wow, what a finish that was. Xavier was up huge, but Providence came back as you would expect, cutting it all the way down to 3 with under a minutes left. Xavier was ultimately too much for the Friars though, and the Muskies grabbed a huge top-10 road win.

Jalmes Farrnolds makes this team go

As sufficient as James Farr on his own has seemed at times this year, there's no question that having both of their big men on the floor and clicking makes the Musketeers a better team. Jalen gives the team a legit rebounder around the rim even when James strays out to flex his jumper, and their ability to work high-low on offense really stretches opponents. Meanwhile, they dominate the defensive glass as a tandem. There's no replacing what you get when those guys are on the floor together.

No lead is safe in this conference

When Xavier went up 15, it looked like this game was over. In the first Big East game of the night, Georgetown staged a 15-3 run over the last two minutes to storm back against Creighton and grab a home win. Providence tried to pull a similar trick here, getting the Xavier lead down to a couple of possessions with winning time coming up. Providence got it all the way down to three, but JP Macura hit a dagger three while Coach Mack was trying to get a timeout to put X up 6 with less than a minute to go, and that was all she wrote.

Bentil and Dunn need some help

Both of those guys for Providence came as advertised even after a short turnaround from a tough OT game. The problem was that nobody else on the team could get anything going at all. It wasn't just today, either; those two guys have been carrying the team all year. Xavier could have doubled both those guys and played a free safety and probably have put up good defensive numbers. It's reminiscent of watching the Tu/Cheekz era Muskies where you would always be wondering who might a third scorer.