Xavier got down big early, but a fight and fire that this team hadn’t shown yet allowed them to grab their second conference win, 81-75 over Georgetown.
The game got off to a fast start, with Xavier shooting 5-6 from the field and Georgetown making three, three-pointers in the first four minutes. Xavier forced a Georgetown timeout with 15:31 left in the first half after a Zach Hankins dunk, up 11-9.
A 12-2 Georgetown run out of the timeout had them up 21-13 with 12:29 remaining in the first half. At this point, Georgetown was 5-5 from three-point range. The Hoyas continued to grow the lead over the next four minutes, leading 28-17 with 7:52 in the first half.
Things only got worse from there in the first half, as Georgetown extended their lead to 39-22 with 3:49 left in the first half. Xavier had only made 10 of 26 shots, 38.5%, overall and just one of their eight three-point, 12.5%, attempts. They had also only made one free throw while Georgetown was making 51.7% of their shots and 58.3% of their threes.
However, Xavier switched to the zone and played Hankins and Tyrique Jones together again out of the timeout. They hit four of their next six field goal attempts and their next four free throws. The result was a 12-0 Xavier run to close the deficit to 39-34 going into the half.
They continued the run into the second half, eventually tying the game at 39 with 18:29 left in the contest. The Hoyas broke their drought after that, but Xavier was still hanging around, down only 43-41 with 15:52 remaining in the game.
The game went back and back, with neither team able to lead by more than two points over the next five minutes. Elias Harden hit two key three-pointers to give Xavier the lead twice in that stretch, and it gave them a 55-54 lead with 11:13 left in the game.
A 9-0 run for Xavier propelled them to a 61-54 lead, but Georgetown responded with a 4-0 run to cut the Xavier lead to just three, 61-58, with 8:20 left in the game. A nice play after the timeout allowed Naji Marshall to get an open layup, and Xavier led 63-58 with 7:24 remaining.
The teams played even through the next four and a half minutes, with Xavier leading 71-66 with 2:53 left in the game. It remained a tight one through the end, as Xavier led 77-72 with 33.9 seconds left before ultimately winning the game 81-75.
Hankins and Jones were excellent against the Hoyas in their first game starting together. Jones had 19 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes, while Hankins led the team in scoring and blocks with 23 and three respectively, while also grabbing 10 rebounds.
Marshall finished in double-figures with 13 points, while also grabbing five rebounds, dishing out three assists, and getting two steals. Paul Scruggs had a good outing as well, scoring 10 points, all in the second half, grabbing five rebounds, handing out four assists and grabbing a steal.