February 15, 2015 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports)
Muskies’ suffers first home loss of season, Falls to Red Storm
Senior Guard/Forward Sir’Dominic Pointer scored 24 points and pulled down 5 rebounds, while D’Angelo Harrison added 18 points with 5 rebounds as St. John’s (17 – 8) defeated Xavier (16 – 10) 78 – 70 in front of a crowd of 10,250 at the Cintas Center Saturday afternoon.
The loss was Xavier’s first home loss of the season and dropped the Musketeers to a 16 – 10 record for the year and 7-7 in the tough Big East Conference. The Red Storm of St John’s used transitions baskets along with 11 steals and 17 second chance points en route to their fourth win in their last 5 games with the only loss coming to ranked Butler.
“To give up the transition baskets that we did on dead ball situations, to not be able to communicate between teammates who’s guarding who, for the ball just to get sprayed up the floor and not know who were guarding is inexcusable, ” Coach Chris Mack said.
Xavier actually jumped out to a 10 – 3 lead on 4-4 shooting that forced the Red Storm and Coach Stevie Lavin to call an early time out to re group his ball club. St John’s wing guard Sir’Dominic Pointer went to work scoring three straight baskets at the rim to help the Red Storm to a 8 – 3 run to cut the Muskies’ lead to two at 13-11. J.P. Macura stopped the run by St. John’s on a 3 point shot assisted by Dee Davis at the 13:31 mark. Red Storms’ senior guard D’Angelo Harrison came right back down and hit a three-pointer to match Macura and bring the score to 16-14 Xavier. After Trevon Bluiett’s three gave Xavier a little breathing room making the score 21-16, Harrison and the Red Storm went on a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the game 23-21 with 9:36 remaining in the first half. St. John’s would end up taking a 7 point lead into half-time 40-33.
Coming out for the 2nd half Xavier would use the big man down low senior center Matt Stainbrook to help them cut into the 7 point half-time deficit. Stainbrook would control the defensive rebounding and throw a couple of assists to get the Muskies’ back in the game and the score all knotted up at 42 with 16:59 remaining. St. John’s would use its toughness to get the ball to the rim to go on a 8 – 0 run that forced Coach Mack and Xavier to call a timeout with the score 50-42 with 14:43 remaining.
“We can talk about it all we want on the offensive end but until we get the defensive end right, then it doesn’t really matter,” Xavier’s Matt Stainbrook said.
The Muskies’ Jalen Reynolds would send the crowd into a frenzy after pulling the score to one 66-65 after converting a free-throw from being fouled on a thunderous dunk over Red Storms Amar Alibegovic with 5:00 remaining in the game. With the crowd going wild, St. John’s Sir’Dominic Pointer would quiet the crowd with two tough free throws to give the Red Storm a three-point lead 68-65. Xavier would turn the ball over on the next possession leading to an easy layup for Rysheed Jordan extending the Red Storms lead to five 70 -65 with 4:23 remaining. Xavier would get any closer than 2 points down the stretch as the Red Storm would use an 8 – 5 run to end the game to give the final score 78 – 70 handing the Musketeers its first loss of the season and putting their backs up against the wall in hopes for an NCAA berth with 5 games remaining on the season.
“Every day is a sense of urgency for our staff, and our players need to feel it because our backs are against the wall,” stated Coach Mack. “We’ve got five regualr-season games left and we have to win as many of them as we can.”
Xavier will try to win one of those next five games on the road to face in city rival the Cincinnati Bearcats Wednesday at 7:00 on ESPN/ESPN2.
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