Down 17, Mus­ke­teers rally past Ge­orge­town

Un­der­manned Hoyas slip to 11-5

The Star Democrat - - SPORTS -

— Zach Hank­ins and Tyrique Jones have been lob­by­ing to play to­gether on Xavier’s thin front line. They got their chance and led the Mus­ke­teers to their best win of the sea­son.

Hank­ins scored a sea­son­high 23 points, and Jones had a dou­ble-dou­ble Wed­nes­day night as Xavier ral­lied from a 17-point deficit to an 81-75 vic­tory over short-handed Ge­orge­town.

The Mus­ke­teers (10-7, 2-2 Big East) have won six in a row and nine of 10 against the Hoyas (11-5, 1-2), who were miss­ing two starters.

With the Mus­ke­teers trail­ing by 17 late in the first half, Hank­ins had a fast-break dunk and a re­verse layup that sparked a 17-point run. Jones’ 3-point play com­pleted the run and tied it at 39-39. Jones fin­ished with 19 points and 10 re­bounds.

Hank­ins and Jones are the Mus­ke­teers’ only post play­ers. Coach Travis Steele has been re­luc­tant to play them to­gether, fear­ing they’d get in foul trou­ble. He gave them a chance on Wed­nes­day and it worked out nicely.

“That’s the first time you’ve seen it,” Jones said, not­ing they’ve played to­gether in prac­tice. “It def­i­nitely felt great. We’ve been in coach’s ear try­ing to stay on the floor, both of us at the same time. To­day we proved we can both stay on the floor.”

Paul Scruggs made a pair of free throws and a layup as Xavier pulled ahead by seven points and didn’t trail again. Scruggs fin­ished with 10 points.

Xavier point guard Quentin Goodin sat out with an in­jured right an­kle, hurt dur­ing a 7052 loss at No. 16 Mar­quette on Sun­day.

Jessie Go­van scored 27 points for the Hoyas, who were com­ing off a 97-94 loss to St. John’s in over­time.

Go­van and Greg Mali­nowski each hit a pair of 3s, and the Hoyas made their first six shots from be­yond the arc while pulling ahead 39-22. The Hoyas then went cold, miss­ing 18 of their next 21 shots from be­yond the arc.

“We can’t just con­tinue to shoot 3s,” coach Pa­trick Ew­ing said. “We shot 27 3s, they shot 13. They got the ball in the paint and we didn’t. We should get the ball in­side and out.”

Xavier went to a zone de­fense late in the first half and the Hoyas had trou­ble get­ting the ball in­side. Xavier fin­ished with 48 points in the paint to Ge­orge­town’s 28.

“It was a great ad­just­ment,” Hank­ins said. “It im­me­di­ately stopped their of­fense in their tracks.”

BIG PIC­TURE

Ge­orge­town: The Hoyas’ two in­jured starters are get­ting closer to re­turn­ing, but weren’t ready on Wed­nes­day. Fresh­man guard Mac McClung missed the fourth straight game with an in­jured left an­kle. For­ward Trey Mourn­ing missed his fifth straight with a con­cus­sion. Fresh­man Josh LeBlanc started in Mourn­ing’s spot for the fifth straight game and had four points.

Xavier: The Mus­ke­teers pulled off their best win with­out Goodin, who missed a game for the third time this sea­son. He se­verely in­jured his left shoul­der in the pre­sea­son and missed the opener. He missed a later game be­cause of ill­ness.

“I just loved the re­solve of our guys tonight,” Steele said.

SE­RIES DOM­I­NA­TION

In ad­di­tion to their six straight wins over the Hoyas, the Mus­ke­teers have dom­i­nated the se­ries 14-4.

CRASH-BANG

Steele slammed his white­board on the floor dur­ing a time­out af­ter Ge­orge­town pulled ahead by 17 points, get­ting his team’s at­ten­tion. The Mus­ke­teers went on their 17-point run out of the time­out.

“The en­ergy was great,” Hank­ins said. “None of us were hang­ing our heads. I think that was big growth right there be­cause some­times we been hang­ing our heads.”

HOT TO COLD

Mali­nowski came in shoot­ing 48.9 per­cent from be­yond the arc, best in the league. He made his first two 3-point at­tempts, but then missed his four shots the rest of the way.

AP PHOTO

Xavier’s Paul Scruggs (1) shoots against Ge­orge­town’s Josh LeBlanc (23) dur­ing Wed­nes­day night’s first half.

AP PHOTO

Ge­orge­town head coach Pa­trick Ew­ing re­acts dur­ing Wed­nes­day night’s first half.

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