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Xavier zipped up St. John’s to get Coach Mack his 203rd win

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When the chips were down, Xavier’s defense stepped up.

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Xavier
Nobody has won more games at Xavier than Coach Mack has.
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

With 10 minutes to go in the game, things didn’t look great for Xavier. After holding St. John’s to 14-34 shooting in the first half, they had allowed the visitors to hit 11 straight shots out of the break to take the lead. At that point, it wasn’t clear anything X would do would result in a single stop in the second half.

Then the game flipped in the blink of an eye. Over the next seven-plus minutes, Xavier didn’t surrender a single point, holding St. John’s to 0-10/0-2/0-0 shooting and forcing a turnover. A defense that was sensationally porous was suddenly entirely impermeable.

The final numbers for Xavier’s defense this game will not be pretty. Nobody is going to write odes about giving up .500/.448/.778 shooting and only forcing 5 turnovers. When it came time to win the game, though, Xavier figured it out. By the time St. John’s scored again, they were already lying in a chalk outline.