Xavier won it’s first round NIT game against Toledo 78-64 behind a strong second half performance.
Both teams got off to a slow start, as Xavier struggled initially against Toledo’s zone defense. The Musketeers started 2-10 from the field before making two of their next three shots.
Toledo started off just 4-9 from the field, and as a result the game was tied 10-10 with 13:05 left in the first half.
The Rockets were able to take a 14-12 lead, as Xavier continued to struggle from the field. The Musketeers were only 6-18 from the field in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Toledo was able to keep the lead for the next few minutes, but a three by Elias Harden tied the game at 19-19 with 7:48 left in the first half. Xavier took the lead on a layup by Tyrique Jones on their next possession.
Toledo would hit a three to take the lead back, 22-21, but another made shot from Harden put Xavier up 23-22 with 3:08 left in the first half.
Toledo would take the lead back 25-23, but a block by Tyrique Jones, followed by save by Ryan Welage and a dunk by Quentin Goodin, brought Xavier back even 25-25. The game was tied 27-27 at half.
Xavier was able to start the second half well on offense, but Toledo was still able to take a 36-35 lead. However, a 10-0 Xavier run put the Musketeers up 45-36 with 13:27 remaining in the game, fueled by easy baskets in the paint.
Toledo snapped the run with a layup, but Scruggs responded with a three to put Xavier up 48-38 with 12:57 to go.
Two free throws from Marshall, and five quick points from Goodin, and anther three from Marshall extended Xavier’s run even further as they led 58-38 with just over ten minutes left.
Toledo was able to cut the Xavier lead to 15, 62-47, but an alley-oop from Marshall to Scruggs with 7:06 left put Xavier back up 17, 64-47.
Welage would hit another three with just under five minutes remaining to put Xavier back up 20, 69-49. Xavier led 69-51 with 3:50 left in the game.
The Rockets cut Xavier’s lead to 13 points, 69-56, before a pair of Marshall free throws and a Harden three put Xavier back up 18, 74-56.
Toledo responded with another run, cutting the Xavier lead to 74-62 with under two minutes left. That was as close as they would get though.
Another Marshall alley-oop, this one to Jones, put Xavier back up 14. Dontarius James checked in during the final few minutes, and Leighton Schrand, AJ Frazier, Ramon Singh, and Zak Swetye checked in with just under a minute to go, and Xavier won 78-64.
Marshall posted 20 points and 21 rebounds, in addition to six assists and four steals. It was the first 20 rebound game and 20-20 game for Xavier since David West had both during the 2000-01 season.
Jones was second on the team in scoring and rebounding with 14 points and eight rebounds. He also had three blocks and a steal.
Goodin chipped in 11 points in addition to five rebounds and five assists, to bring is tally to 24 in the last four games against just four turnovers. Scruggs also had double-figure points, with 10, in addition to six rebounds.
Harden finished with eight points.
Xavier will take on Texas in the next round of the NIT.