St. John’s hadn’t defeated Xavier since 2015, but that streak came to an end on Tuesday night.
The Red Storm beat the Musketeers 93-84 on Tuesday night, snapping their five-year losing streak to their adversary from Cincinnati. The win has pushed St. John’s to 14-8 on the year and over .500 in Big East play at 8-7.
Both teams traded hands for much of the opening sequence of the game. However, the Red Storm would gather momentum and roll onwards nearly halfway into the first half. They’d go on a 15-3 from the 12:57 mark down to 8:20, and would carry onward to push it up to a 25-12 run up to the 5:44 mark of play.
After taking an eight-point lead into the break, the Johnnies supplanted more pressure on the Musketeers. Xavier wouldn’t get any closer than six points the rest of the way, as while they scored 1.122 points per possession in the second half, they couldn’t get up to par with the Johnnies. Shooting wise, Xavier was held to just 43.2 percent from the floor and 19 percent from 3-point land in the second half, and 41.1 percent and 27.5 percent from both areas for the whole game. Turnovers weren’t a factor, as Xavier committed just eight, so it was primarily due to their lack of defense.
Julian Champagnie led the team in scoring, as he is to do, with 21 points on the night. Champagnie was joined in double figures by Rasheem Dunn, Julius Earlington, Posh Alexander and Isaih Moore. That quartet of scorers were responsible for 17, 16, 15 and 11 points respectively. Greg Williams came close, scoring eight points off the bench, as the Johnnies got high-level production across the board. They scored a very robust 1.24 points per possession, as Xavier just couldn’t really tame the beast.
Xavier had four double-figure scorers and two players get up to 20 points. Colby Jones and Zach Freemantle led the way with 20 and 22 respectively, while Nate Johnson and Paul Scruggs each dropped 14. No one else on the team mustered up more than five, but when you get that kind of production, wins will usually come your way. The Musketeers, though, couldn’t corral St. John’s and as a result, a hard-luck loss was dealt their way.