As the annual matchup with the Cincinnati Bearcats looms at the end of the week, the Xavier Musketeers welcomed another local opponent on Wednesday evening — the Ohio Bobcats.
Despite going into the half with just a one point lead, Xavier soared to an 82-61 victory thanks to a strong second half. Paul Scruggs led the way with 21 points, his second 20+ point game of the year. Scruggs also had a career-high eight assists as he picked up the responsibility as point guard as Quentin Goodin missed the game with the flu.
Naji Marshall continued his strong sophomore campaign with 17 points and seven rebounds, as both he and Scruggs have been excellent this season.
A scary scene unfolded near the end of the game, as Tyrique Jones was in the lane to take a charge. After getting hit, Jones’ head collided with an Ohio player’s knee on the way to the court, and he remained down for a couple minutes. Jones left with the trainers and didn’t return for the final two minutes of the game. You can see the impact below.
Whenever a head injury comes into play, it’s a scary sight. Hopefully for both Jones and Xavier’s sake, the junior center is able to play against Cincinnati this weekend. Travis Steele will likely issue an update on Jones’ condition.
This marked Xavier’s third straight game of allowing less than 65 points, as the defense continues to improve from where it was in the first few weeks of the season. Ohio shot 46% from the field, but the Musketeers forced 16 turnovers and turned them into 25 points, which was a big difference maker in the game.
After a rough stretch in Maui, the Musketeers are suddenly at 6-3 with perhaps the biggest game on their schedule all year firmly in front of them now.