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St. John’s earns season sweep of Xavier in 81-66 victory

The Johnnies picked the Musketeers off at home on Wednesday evening.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at St. John Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Two weeks after beating them in Cincinnati, the St. John’s Red Storm picked off the Xavier Musketeers again.

The Red Storm’s 81-66 victory means that they earned a season sweep over their Big East nemesis. It also means that they’ve won each of the last three meetings between the two teams. The Musketeers’ 12-game winning streak against the Red Storm that stretched from 2016 through 2021 seems like a distant memory now.

Xavier’s Colby Jones opened up the scoring with a jumper to make it 2-0 Musketeers. Little did anybody know: That would be the only time Xavier led in this entire game. The closest they got to overtaking the Red Storm were two instances in which the game was tied in the first half.

Every time that Xavier inched close, the Red Storm stretched the lead wider. They held a lead as large as 16 points and kept it double digits in the final 5:08 of the game.

Julian Champagnie, Posh Alexander, and Tareq Coburn all helped lead the Johnnies to victory. The trio all got into double figures in the second half. Champagnie led the way with 13 points, Alexander had 12, and then Coburn posted 11. In total, the trio accounted for 56 of the 81 points scored Wednesday evening.

The senior Coburn had one of his best showings. Coburn’s 20 points were scored in only 26 minutes of game time. He posted a rebound, a board, three blocks, a steal, and shot 5-for-7 from 3-point land.

Aaron Wheeler and Joel Soriano joined this trio in double figures. Wheeler scored 11 points and added 11 rebounds for a double-double performance. Soriano scored 10 points and had five rebounds to his line too.

For the Musketeers, their struggles mostly landed from distance. They went a dismal 5-for-30 on 3-point attempts against the Johnnies. Woof. That combined with a mark of just 43.9 percent on 2-pointers, and 68.2 percent on free throws, and you have a recipe for a loss.

St. John’s probably won’t be dancing come tournament time, but they do have a chance to land gracefully. They face Marquette in the season finale in what will be the teams’ only meeting this year.

Xavier, meanwhile, has nearly crashed and burned. They were 14-3 and 4-2 in the Big East back on January 19. Now, on March 2, they are 17-12 and 7-11. They’re also in the midst of a five-game losing streak and a stretch where they’ve lost seven of eight. Now they just have to hope that they don’t wind up really burning out. They play lowly Georgetown in Cincinnati on Saturday, and the Hoyas, of course, haven’t won a single Big East game yet.