Making the NCAA tournament was a long shot for the Xavier Musketeers entering thursday but there was still a slimmer of hope for the smaller school in Cincinnati. Xavier had to win the A10 tournament to be able to make the NCAA tournament, a challenge that some thought the Musketeers could accomplish.
Xavier (17-13) faced off against Saint Joseph’s (17-12) in the first round of the A10 tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. On a side not real quick the A10 is hosting their tournament in a billion dollar arena, meanwhile the ACC is hosting theirs in the shoddy Greensboro Coliseum. What are you doing with your lives ACC?!
Anyways back to the actual game, it was a tight game through all 40 minutes. St. Joe’s took the lead into half 28-25. Xavier came out of the half playing better, out scoring the Hawks in the second half. All of that fell short in the final minute of the game with Xavier up 57-56 the musketeers committed a foul sending St. Joe’s Langston Galloway to the line for two free throws. He sank both putting the Hawks up 58-57.
At this point Xavier needed a miracle. I’m sure everyone at the school off of Dana Ave. were on the edge of their seats, heck I attend the hated school across town and I was anxious. Xavier’s Justin Martin inbounded the ball by launching it down court to Isaiah Philmore who had a shot at an easy lay up. A lay up middle school girls make every day in gym class, much to everyone’s surprise though Philmore missed the lay up.
With that missed lay up Xavier’s season is over barring an invite to the NIT’s. After a trip to the Sweet 16 last year, this season has been a disappointment. Big wins in the last month of the season re-energized the Musketeer fan base, hopefully it carries into next season. This slump was not a surprise to many Xavier fans, after the loss of key players Tu Holloway, Mark Lyons and Dez Wells this season was viewed as a rebuilding year.
Lick you wounds Xavier fans, Cincinnati needs a great Crosstown Shootout next season. See you then.
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