Xavier won their second in row, having arguably their best half all season in the second half against Providence.
Xavier started the game by feeding the post relentlessly, and it paid off as they got out to an early 6-5 lead with just over four minutes gone in the game.
However, an 8-0 run by Providence gave them an 11-6 lead before a Ryan Welage three cut it to 11-9. Providence immediately answered with a three of their own, and led 14-9 with 11:56 left in the first half.
Xavier made it a one-point game when Naji Marshall hit a shot in the lane, and the score was 19-18 Providence with 7:44 to go in the first half.
The Musketeers were able to take a 22-21 lead on an Elias Harden three, but a 2:44 scoring drought and a 6-0 Providence run saw them down 27-22 with 3:08 remaining in the first half. Xavier went into the half down 32-26.
Though Xavier started the second half with a turnover, they made up for it by immediately getting the ball back and a transition score. That kicked off an 8-0 Xavier run which allowed them to go up 34-32 with 18:05 left in the game.
Xavier extended the run to 10-0, and continued to build a lead, going up 41-36 after Zach Hankins hit two free throws with 14:52 to go.
Providence hit a shot in the paint to make it 41-38, but an 8-0 run, featuring threes from Quentin Goodin and Naji Marshall, put Xavier up 49-38 with 13:15 left in the game.
Providence responded with a three after the timeout to make the score 49-41, two free throws from Hankins put Xavier back up by ten, 51-41, with 11:54 remaining.
The Musketeers kept up their momentum, and led 59-46 with just 7:41 left in the game. Two big keys to the momentum were offensive rebounding and turnovers. Xavier had only turned the ball over three times to that point in the second half, while also scoring eight second chance points on six offensive rebounds.
Xavier increased their lead to 17 points, 63-46, with 5:43 left in the game on a layup by Tyrique Jones. Providence responded with a 5-0 run to cut the lead to 63-51, but a dunk in transition by Jones put Xavier back up 14, 65-51.
After Marshall hit a three off an assist from Goodin, Xavier led 68-51 with 3:38 left in the game. Providence refused to quit, trimming Xavier’s lead to as low 12, 73-61, with 1:10 to go in the game.
Xavier closed the game out with a 14 point, 75-61 win over the Friars on the road.
Jones led the way for Xavier in both scoring and rebounding, with 19 points and 12 rebounds respectively. He also posted two blocks and a steal.
Marshall was second on the team with 14 points, while also grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out four assists. Goodin and Hankins both posted 13 points each. Goodin finished with three rebounds, seven assists, and a steal, while Hankins grabbed six rebounds while posting a block and a steal.
Paul Scruggs came up big in the second half, scoring all six of his points in the final 20 minutes. He also dished out six assists and had two steals.
Xavier owned the second half, outscoring Providence 49-29 in the final 20 minutes behind 19-26 shooting, and 6-7 from behind the arc. They also outrebounded Providence 19-8 while holding the Friars to just 8-26 from the field in the half and forcing six turnovers.