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Xavier’s Defense Propels Them to a 66-54 Win Over Villanova: Recap

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NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier held Villanova to just 54 points, and 24 in the second half to get their fourth straight win, 66-54.

Things got off to a slow start for Xavier, as they only made one for their first six shots and trailed 7-2 after four minutes. They made their next two though to tie the game at 7-7 before Villanova hit a three to take the lead back at 10-7 with 13:34 left in the first half.

Villanova scored a layup to go back up five points, but Quentin Goodin came back with a layup of his own to make the score 12-9 Villanova with 12:47 left in the first half.

The Wildcats outscored Xavier 6-2 over the next five minutes to lead 18-11 with 7:54 left in the first half.

Xavier was able to gain some ground through the next four minute war, outscoring Villanova 10-7. They only trailed 25-21 with 3:46 left in the first half.

The Musketeers were able to keep it close to end the half, trailing by only three points, 30-27 at the break.

Villanova made three, three-pointers to start the second half, but Xavier was able to keep pace and trail by just three, 39-36 with 15:40 left in the game.

The game went back and forth through the next four minutes, with each team landing blows. Xavier was able to tie the game up at 44-44 during this stretch on a three-pointer from Elias Harden with 11:49 left in the game.

Xavier was able to take the lead about 90 seconds later, when Naji Marshall scored a transition layup with 10:20 left to go up 46-44.

The Musketeers were able to extend the run to 13-0 and go up by 10 points, 54-44 with 8:10 left when Marshall hit a shot in the lane. Xavier was able to keep the run going, up to 17-0, to lead 58-44 with 5:38 left in the game.

Both teams failed to score through the next minute and a half, and Xavier maintained a 58-44 lead with 4:00 left in the game.

Xavier held on in the closing minutes to grab their fourth straight win, 66-54.

Marshall led the team in scoring with 17 points. He also had seven rebounds, four assists, and a steal. Paul Scruggs finished second with 14 points, while also posting six rebounds and two assists.

Goodin also reached double-figure scoring with 11 points. He also posted four rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block. Zach Hankins also chipped in 10 points to go along with four rebounds and two blocks.

Harden finished with eight points, and Tyrique Jones finished with six points, eight rebounds, a block and a steal.

Xavier’s defense clamped down in the second half, as Villanova shot only 8-29 (27.6%) from the field and 4-18 (22.2%) from three-point range. For the game as a whole, Villanova only shot 33.9% from the field and 27.8% from three-point range. Xavier held Villanova to just 0.871 points per possession as well.

This was Xavier’s third straight quadrant-one victory.