’Cats claw back

Nova re­bounds to top Creighton

New York Daily News - - SPORTS -

OMAHA, Neb. — Vil­lanova called on Phil Booth again. As usual, he de­liv­ered.

Booth scored 19 of his 28 points after half­time to ig­nite the Wild­cats’ surge as they came from be­hind to beat Creighton, 90-78, on Sun­day.

“He’s got an in­cred­i­ble hu­mil­ity about him where when you need him, he’s there,” Vil­lanova coach Jay Wright said. “If you don’t need him, he’s do­ing all the lit­tle things and he’s not com­plain­ing. It’s what makes him a great leader and great player.”

Booth made all four of his 3-point­ers in the sec­ond half and scored eight straight points early in a 26-6 spurt that turned Vil­lanova’s 4738 deficit into a 64-53 lead with 9½ min­utes left. The Blue­jays had two scor­ing droughts of more than 4 min­utes as Vil­lanova (13-4, 4-0 Big East) pulled away.

The de­fend­ing cham­pion Wild­cats came back from siz­able deficits for the third time in four games. They trailed by 13 be­fore beat­ing No. 24 St. John’s on Tues­day and by 14 in a vic­tory over DePaul on Jan. 2. Booth hit the go-ahead 3pointer late and scored 23 points against St. John’s. The fifth-year se­nior said his work is a re­flec­tion of the team.

“It’s how re­silient we are, how men­tally tough we are from be­ing down a lot through­out the sea­son,” Booth said. “It’s learn­ing how to stay calm and do­ing what we do to fight back and stay ag­gres­sive no mat­ter what hap­pens.”

XAVIER 70, BUT­LER 69

Things weren’t look­ing good for Xavier at the last me­dia time­out, with the Mus­ke­teers trail­ing by 10 points and strug­gling to make shots. Coach Travis Steele re­minded the Mus­ke­teers that they were ca­pa­ble of an im­prob­a­ble rally.

Paul Scruggs scored 23 points while lead­ing an­other big come­back, and Naji Mar­shall made a free throw with 3.2 sec­onds left, send­ing the Mus­ke­teers to a vic­tory over But­ler on Sun­day.

Down by 10 points with 4 min­utes left, the Mus­ke­teers (11-7, 3-2 Big East) went on a clos­ing 16-5 spurt that fea­tured Scruggs’ fifth 3-pointer, a ca­reer high. Scruggs moved to the point guard spot with Quentin Goodin in­jured and had a team-high eight re­bounds with six as­sists in 40 min­utes.

AP

Nova’s Eric Paschall (4) drives on Creighton’s Ty-Shon Alexan­der.

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