NOVA
XAVIER

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Xavier sends No. 17 Villanova to 3rd straight loss, 66-54

CINCINNATI (AP) Xavier players ran to the student section to slap hands after their biggest win of the season. A couple of weeks ago, nobody could have anticipated them knocking off No. 17 Villanova by double digits.

Those low expectations made it all the sweeter.

Naji Marshall scored 17 points and Xavier used a big surge in the second half to rally past Villanova 66-54 Sunday , leaving the Wildcats with three straight losses in Big East play for the first time since the conference was reconfigured.

It was only Xavier's second win against the Wildcats in the Big East.

''I've never beaten `Nova in my career,'' junior point guard Quentin Goodin said. ''Having all the doubters against us, I feel we proved a point today.''

The Musketeers (15-13, 7-8) won their fourth straight - matching their season high - and ended their run of lopsided losses against the Wildcats. Villanova (20-8, 11-4) had won five in a row against the Musketeers, including an 85-75 victory on Jan. 18.

That loss started a six-game Xavier losing streak that dropped the defending regular season champions to last in the Big East. Now they're on their way back up.

''We're a heck of a lot better than we were then - a lot,'' coach Travis Steele said. ''Dramatically.''

It showed in the big moments.

Marshall had seven points during a 17-0 run that gave Xavier its first lead midway through the second half. Marshall has been the catalyst during Xavier's winning streak, averaging 20.5 points.

''We all need to be on one bus, all together on this,'' Marshall said. ''It's not about individual play.''

Villanova struggled to hit shots during back-to-back road losses at St. John's and Georgetown, and the poor shooting carried over. The Wildcats missed 11 consecutive shots during Xavier's decisive run and were only 4 of 18 from beyond the arc in the second half, when they went more than 9 minutes without scoring.

''It seemed like a long time,'' coach Jay Wright said. ''I think we're just not executing the way we want to, not getting any easy baskets off our defense, so it makes every shot monumental.''

Phil Booth had 12 points in the first half, when the Wildcats led by as many as nine points. Their 30-27 halftime lead ended a streak of three straight halves allowing at least 40 points. Booth made only one of his eight shots in the second half and finished with 14 points.

Marshall hit a floater and a 3-pointer as Xavier got its first lead, 49-44, midway through the second half and started its decisive run.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Wildcats will plummet after their 85-73 loss at Georgetown on Wednesday - the most points they'd allowed this season - and the 12-point loss at Xavier. They've been ranked for six straight weeks.

BIG PICTURE

Villanova: The loss to Xavier is telling. The Wildcats have won 11 of 13 since both have been in the Big East - the conference was reconfigured for the 2013-14 season. Their only other loss to Xavier during that span was 90-83 at the Cintas Center on Feb. 24, 2016, when Villanova was ranked No. 1.

Xavier: The winning streak has pulled the Musketeers out of the Big East basement and moved the defending regular season champions up to a tie for fourth place.

OLD TIMES

Both teams wore throwback jerseys reminiscent of their 1980s uniforms.

NO POINTS FOR `NOVA

Villanova's 54 points were its fewest since a 73-46 loss to Michigan the third game of the season. In the last 2 1/2 games, the Wildcats have shot 34 percent from the field and 24.7 percent from beyond the arc.

PASCHALL BETTER

Eric Paschall led the Wildcats with 17 points. In his two previous games, he was only 6 of 22 from the field.

NOTHING FREE

Villanova shot only four free throws and made them all. Xavier was 10 of 18 from the line.

UP NEXT

Villanova hosts Marquette on Wednesday. The Wildcats lost at Marquette 66-65 last Sunday.

Xavier plays at St. John's on Thursday. The Musketeers close the season by hosting St. John's on March 9.

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Key Players
E. Paschall
4 F
N. Marshall
13 F
35.4 Min. Per Game 35.4
14.3 Pts. Per Game 14.3
3.5 Ast. Per Game 3.5
6.7 Reb. Per Game 6.7
45.9 Field Goal % 41.6
37.5 Three Point % 28.2
76.6 Free Throw % 70.5
  Defensive rebound by Tyrique Jones 28.0
  Jahvon Quinerly missed 3-pt. jump shot 30.0
+ 1 Paul Scruggs made 2nd of 2 free throws 42.0
  Paul Scruggs missed 1st of 2 free throws 42.0
  Personal foul on Phil Booth 42.0
  Defensive rebound by Paul Scruggs 50.0
  Joe Cremo missed 3-pt. jump shot 52.0
+ 2 Tyrique Jones made dunk, assist by Elias Harden 1:00
+ 1 Eric Paschall made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:06
+ 1 Eric Paschall made 1st of 2 free throws 1:06
  Personal foul on Quentin Goodin 1:06
Team Stats
Points 54 66
Field Goals 20-59 (33.9%) 24-47 (51.1%)
3-Pointers 10-36 (27.8%) 8-22 (36.4%)
Free Throws 4-4 (100.0%) 10-18 (55.6%)
Total Rebounds 33 33
Offensive 11 5
Defensive 19 28
Team 3 0
Assists 13 12
Steals 5 3
Blocks 3 4
Turnovers 8 9
Fouls 18 13
Technicals 0 0
17 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST
17 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST
12T
away team logo 17 Villanova 20-8 302454
home team logo Xavier 15-13 273966
Team Stats
away team logo 17 Villanova 20-8 74.1 PPG 38.1 RPG 14.2 APG
home team logo Xavier 15-13 72.1 PPG 39.2 RPG 14.9 APG
Key Players
4
E. Paschall F 16.5 PPG 6.2 RPG 2.1 APG 45.0 FG%
13
N. Marshall F 14.5 PPG 7.2 RPG 3.4 APG 39.6 FG%
Top Scorers
E. Paschall F 17 PTS 2 REB 2 AST
N. Marshall F 17 PTS 7 REB 4 AST
33.9 FG% 51.1
27.8 3PT FG% 36.4
100.0 FT% 55.6
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
E. Paschall 17 2 2 5/10 3/5 4/4 2 33 2 2 3 1 1
P. Booth 14 6 4 6/18 2/9 0/0 4 36 0 0 3 1 5
S. Bey 10 8 2 4/9 2/6 0/0 0 31 1 0 0 4 4
C. Gillespie 6 3 1 2/6 2/6 0/0 5 28 1 0 0 1 2
D. Cosby-Roundtree 0 2 1 0/3 0/0 0/0 2 23 0 0 0 0 2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
E. Paschall 17 2 2 5/10 3/5 4/4 2 33 2 2 3 1 1
P. Booth 14 6 4 6/18 2/9 0/0 4 36 0 0 3 1 5
S. Bey 10 8 2 4/9 2/6 0/0 0 31 1 0 0 4 4
C. Gillespie 6 3 1 2/6 2/6 0/0 5 28 1 0 0 1 2
D. Cosby-Roundtree 0 2 1 0/3 0/0 0/0 2 23 0 0 0 0 2
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Quinerly 5 3 1 2/8 1/6 0/0 1 20 1 0 1 1 2
J. Cremo 2 2 2 1/4 0/3 0/0 1 12 0 0 0 0 2
J. Samuels 0 4 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 3 16 0 1 1 3 1
B. Slater 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
T. Delaney - - - - - - - - - - - - -
P. Heck - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Swider - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Saunders - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Hoehn - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 54 30 13 20/59 10/36 4/4 18 200 5 3 8 11 19
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
N. Marshall 17 7 4 6/12 2/8 3/6 1 40 1 0 3 0 7
P. Scruggs 14 6 2 4/7 2/4 4/6 2 32 0 0 0 0 6
Q. Goodin 11 4 4 4/12 2/6 1/4 4 38 1 1 3 0 4
Z. Hankins 10 4 0 4/8 0/0 2/2 0 25 0 2 0 2 2
T. Jones 6 8 0 3/3 0/0 0/0 4 26 1 1 2 3 5
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
N. Marshall 17 7 4 6/12 2/8 3/6 1 40 1 0 3 0 7
P. Scruggs 14 6 2 4/7 2/4 4/6 2 32 0 0 0 0 6
Q. Goodin 11 4 4 4/12 2/6 1/4 4 38 1 1 3 0 4
Z. Hankins 10 4 0 4/8 0/0 2/2 0 25 0 2 0 2 2
T. Jones 6 8 0 3/3 0/0 0/0 4 26 1 1 2 3 5
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
E. Harden 8 1 1 3/5 2/4 0/0 2 26 0 0 1 0 1
K. Castlin 0 2 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 6 0 0 0 0 2
R. Welage 0 1 1 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 7 0 0 0 0 1
L. Schrand - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Hanson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Kennedy - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. James - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. Swetye - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Singh - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Frazier - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 66 33 12 24/47 8/22 10/18 13 200 3 4 9 5 28