With 9:46 to play, the 2013 Muskies could be forgiven for being a little shell-shocked. They had controlled the game all night and had been up a dozen just 5 minutes ago after Brad Redford (6/1/2) drilled a corner three off of a feed from the irrepressible Semaj Christon (23/3/6). Then it all fell apart.
Justin Doellman (10/2/1) dropped in a personal 5-0 run, and Stan Burrell (16/6/2) hit a jumper in the lane. Travis Taylor (19/14/2) hit a layup, but Brian Thornton (12/9/2) tipped in his own miss and Burrell scored and-one to cut it to three. By the time Justin Cage (8/6/1) scored off of a Dedrick Finn (15/6/7) assist to tie it and then jarred a couple of free throws following the teams exchanging buckets, the 2005 team had gone on a blistering 24-9 run to overturn the deficit and take a 62-59 lead.
When the chips were down, though, 2013 answered the bell. Semaj hit a couple of FT, Jeff Robinson (!) (7/6/1) nailed a jumper, and Brad Redford drilled a three from straightaway after rotation came too late on a post double of Takeoff Trav. Brian Thornton and Justin Cage scored on back-to-back possessions to keep it within a possession, but that was as close as they would come.
From 6:02 to 3:01, 2013 embarked on a 13-2 run to put the game away. In true Xavier fashion, it was the defense that got it done. Over the last six and a half minutes, 2013 held 2005 to 1-9/1-4/2-2 shooting and forced 4 turnovers. During the decisive run, Semaj had 4, JRob and Justin Martin (17/6/0) hit threes, and my boy Dee Davis (8/1/7) chipped in an FT. By the time Dee scored the game's final points on a dime from Semaj, the game had already been decided.
It was a gritty win for 2013, who has a huge hill to climb in the first round against the 2016 team. That game should probably tip on Twitter on Thursday morning, so keep an eye out for it. Thanks for following along!
One has Chris Mack in his first year without Tu Holloway! One has Sean Miller in his first year ever! Which team will prevail and move on to take on the #1 seeded 2016 Musketeers? Before you pick, check out the team profiles in the thread!— Banners on the Parkway (@BannersParkway) March 17, 2020