GAME NOTES: The Xavier Musketeers had an eight-game win streak snapped by Creighton Sunday, and now look to get back in the win column as they host the Georgetown Hoyas in Big East Conference action at the Cintas Center.
Georgetown is coming off a 70-67 overtime victory over Butler in Big East play that helped the Hoyas stay just a game behind Villanova and Creighton for the conference lead. The Hoyas have won four of their last five games.
The loss to Creighton was tough for the Musketeers to swallow. The Bluejays prevailed, 89-85, in the high-scoring contest that set the Musketeers back a game in the Big East standings.
Xavier holds a slight all-time series lead between the two programs, 4-2, although they've only played twice in the last 45 years - both of which came in the NCAA Tournament.
Georgetown trailed 60-57 with 12 seconds remaining in regulation against Butler, but Markel Starks had no plans of losing the contest. Starks hit a 3- pointer that tied the game up and sent it to overtime, where the Hoyas prevailed. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera netted a team-high 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the floor for the Hoyas. He added seven rebounds and five assists to his impressive stat line. Starks scored 15 points, while Aaron Bowen contributed 11. The Hoyas won despite a dismal 20 percent shooting from 3-point range.
Smith-Rivera tops the Hoyas this season in scoring with 17.3 ppg on 48.5 percent shooting from the floor, including 46.7 percent from 3-point distance. Starks isn't too far behind in the scoring column with 15.4 ppg and a team- best 59 assists in 15 games played. Nate Lubick leads the team in rebounding at 6.1 rpg. The Hoyas as a team are shooting 48.5 percent from the field this year.
Xavier fell behind by double digits to Creighton in the second half before mounting a comeback. The Musketeers cut a 14-point Bluejays lead to just three in the final minutes of play, but came up short in the end, 95-89. Semaj Christon paced the Xavier lineup with 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field. He added five assists and four rebounds to his resume. Justin Martin netted 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range. Matt Stainbrook added 15 points and Dee Davis chipped in 14 with a team-high eight assists.
Christon has been the workhorse this season for the Musketeers, scoring 16.2 ppg and leading the team with 74 total assists through 17 games. He also tops the roster with 24 steals. Stainbrook is shooting 55.5 percent from the floor, averaging 11.4 ppg and a team-high 8.6 rpg with 25 blocked shots. The Musketeers score 75.4 ppg on 47.3 percent shooting, and are holding their opponents to 66.4 ppg.
This will be a marquee matchup in the Big East, as two 3-1 conference teams battle for second place. Georgetown has plenty of fight, but in Cincinnati against a very strong Xavier offense, the Musketeers will have the advantage.
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