Hoping to remain in contention for the Big East regular season crown, the No. 4 Xavier Musketeers (25-4, 13-3 Big East) defeated the Georgetown Hoyas (15-11, 5-10 Big East), 89-77, on Wednesday night at the Capital One Arena. Naji Marshall paved the way for the Musketeers with 21 points and seven rebounds, while JP Macura and Quentin Goodin added 20 and 19 points, respectively. Jamorko Pickett led the Hoyas with 21 points on 6-of-7 shooting from deep.
It was a two-man show to start the game as Pickett and Marshall exchanged baskets early. Marshall struck first with a layup, but Pickett responded with a 3-pointer on Georgetown’s next possession. Marshall converted two layups in the following minutes, but Pickett drilled two more 3-pointers before the first media timeout to give the Hoyas a slim 9-6 lead. After the timeout, however, it was the JP Macura show. He scored the Musketeers’ next 10 points before Kaiser Gates added a 3-pointer at the 12:06 mark, giving Xavier a 19-18 advantage.
From there, the teams exchanged baskets, with Jessie Govan scoring eight consecutive points, while a balanced scoring effort kept the Musketeers within striking distance. Georgetown maintained a 33-28 lead with 6:32 remaining, but both teams struggled to score over the final five minutes. Xavier took the lead on a Sean O’Mara layup, but held it only briefly as Pickett ended the half with an impressive double-clutch 3-pointer over Macura with just seconds remaining. At the intermission, Georgetown led, 40-38.
Trevon Blueitt opened the second half with his first points of the game after following his own miss with a floater, but those were his only points of the night. The senior struggled to shoot the ball, managing just two points on 1-of-10 shooting. While Bluiett struggled, Goodin shined. Despite sustaining an apparent knee injury in the first half, the sophomore put up 16 second half points on 4-of-4 FG, 2-of-2 from deep and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, Georgetown’s two best players, Govan and Marcus Derrickson, struggled in the final twenty minutes. Govan attempted just one shot in the half, and Derrickson tallied a mere five points to total nine on the night, down from his average of 16 points per game.
Xavier took the lead at the 15:07 mark on a Goodin layup. While they had struggled to maintain control throughout the night, the Musketeers turned up the pressure, forcing numerous Georgetown turnovers, and converted in transition to take a commanding nine-point lead at the under-12 media timeout. While the Hoyas were able to generate buckets on the offensive end, the Musketeers drilled timely shots repeatedly to keep the hosts at bay. The Hoyas would get as close as six points with 6:35 remaining, but Goodin converted an and-1 layup in transition to take the wind out of Georgetown’s sails. He followed the and-1 with a 3-pointer less than a minute later, which propelled the Musketeers to their first double-digit lead of the night. From there, Xavier converted on its free throws to ice the game.
The win maintains Xavier’s one-game lead over No. 3 Villanova (24-3, 11-3 Big East), though the Wildcats own the head-to-head tie-breaker. For Georgetown, the loss almost ensures the Hoyas an opening-night game in the Big East tournament, as the Hoyas sit two games behind Seton Hall (18-9, 7-7) for sixth place. The Musketeers will return to action on Feb. 28 against Providence (17-10, 8-6 Big East), while Georgetown will host the Friars on Feb. 24.