Xavier managed to get the win, 82-61 over Ohio, after struggling for a large portion of the contest.
Xavier got off to its best start all season, scoring 12 while holding Ohio to just three points in the first three minutes. By the first media timeout with 15:28 left in the first half, Xavier led 15-5, shooting 75% from the field.
Ohio would respond with an 11-0 run after a Ryan Welage three to make the score 18-16. With 11:12 left in the first half, Xavier only led 22-18.
It was a game of runs for the next few minutes, as Xavier extended their lead to 27-18 before Ohio made it 27-26 with 6:13 to go in the first half. Ohio led 32-29 with 2:58 left in the half, in part due to six turnovers from Xavier in a seven minute span, while also not scoring.
Ohio took the lead back at 30-29 and led until there was less than a second in the first half, as a Naji Marshall put back gave Xavier a 35-34 lead heading into the break.
Outside of the hot start, Xavier played poorly on both sides of the ball, as Ohio finished the half shooting 13-26 from the field and had 11 points off turnovers.
Paul Scruggs was the best player for Xavier in the first half, scoring a team high 10 points, tied for the team high with four rebounds, while also recording an assist and a steal.
Welage made an early impact, draining three, three-pointers in the first five minutes of the game. He had nine points in the half.
Xavier started the second half strong, and extended the lead to 44-41 with 15:51 remaining in the game. Though the lead only increased by a point, the energy looked better on both ends.
Xavier continued to hold the team until 11:10, when they led 54-52. However, turnovers kept them from gaining any momentum, as they had committed 14 by this points. They started to grab momentum around the 11 minute mark, making 7-8 field goals while holding Ohio without a point for 3:07, with 7:40 left in the game.
With 3:58 left, Xavier led 71-60 and was on a 6-0 run. Kyle Castlin free throws extended it to a 7-0 run and a 72-60 lead. The lead continued to grow, reaching a 15-0 run and a 80-60 with 1:59 to go in the game. They finished with a 17-1 run.
Leighton Schrand checked in with 1:34 left, and the game was sealed. Xavier came away with the 82-61 victory after struggling to find footing for a while.
Scruggs led the team with the best game of his Xavier career. He scored 21 points, dished out a career-high eight assists, grabbed five rebounds, had a career-high four steals, went 8-9 from the field and 3-4 from three-point range.
Marshall came on strong at the end of the game, finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal. Tyrique Jones also finished well, scoring 15 points. Castlin finished in double-figures as well, scoring 10 points while also grabbing five rebounds and two steals.