61
TF 10
FINAL
End
2nd
FS1
Thu Mar. 14
2:45pm
BONUS
63
TF 7
ML: -162
XAVIER 3, O/U 141.5
ML: +140
CREIGH
XAVIER

No Text

Xavier advances to Big East semis, beats Creighton 63-61

NEW YORK (AP) This time last year, Zach Hankins was leading Ferris State to a Division II national championship.

On Thursday, he was the best player on the floor for Xavier at Madison Square Garden, helping the Musketeers reach the Big East Tournament semifinals for a sixth straight season.

Hankins scored 22 points, including the go-ahead tip-in with 21 seconds left, and Kyle Castlin blocked Creighton's last shot in the closing seconds to give Xavier a 63-61 victory over the Bluejays.

The fourth-seeded Musketeers (18-14) will face top-seeded defending conference champion Villanova in the semifinals Friday night. Coming off a Big East regular-season championship and No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament last year, Xavier struggled to find continuity in its first season under coach Travis Steele. But the Musketeers have been playing as well as any team in the conference over the last month, winning seven of eight games to keep slim hopes of extending their streak of NCAA Tournament appearances to six.

Hankins and Castlin were part of Xavier's rebuild this year, both graduate transfers.

Hankins, who had no Division I offers out of Charlevoix, Michigan - population 2,513, according to the 2010 census - dominated at the D-II level last year. He has mostly been a complimentary player for Xavier. But when the Musketeers went cold in the second half against Creighton, Hankins took over. He scored 12 points in the last 7:11, starring on one of the biggest stages in basketball.

''It sunk in some on the court when they grabbed me for an interview with Steele on the court. I almost teared up some,'' Hankins said. ''I got to take it all in and realize where I come from and what I just did.''

After Ty-Shon Alexander's jumper tied it for fifth-seeded Creighton (18-14) at 61 with 51 seconds left, Hankins tapped in a third-chance shot for Xavier with his left hand to take a two-point lead.

''We didn't have an answer for him,'' Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. ''His offensive rebounds, it seemed like everyone was a back-breaker.''

Hankins had nine rebounds, five offensive, and was 11 for 15 from the field. The rest of the Musketeers went 15 for 45.

Creighton had the last shot, but McDermott said they play called wasn't executed properly and it left Alexander with a jumper that he was slow to release.

Castlin closed and got a hand on Alexander's 3 with four seconds left.

''He was wide open,'' Castlin, who transferred from Columbia. ''I knew I just had to put it all on the line to try to seal the game.''

Paul Scruggs grabbed the loose ball for Xavier, pumped his fist and the Musketeers moved on.

Alexander led the Bluejays with 21 points and Martin Krampelj added 14.

The game turned into a grind in the second half as Xavier went nine minutes without a field goal. Creighton whittled a 10-point lead to three and then stalled, too. Alexander gave the Bluejays their first lead of the second half, hitting a jumper while getting fouled and converting the 3-point play to make it 53-52 with 5:42 left.

BIG PICTURE

Creighton: The Bluejays had a five-game winning streak snapped and probably saw their outside chance at an NCAA bid disappear. McDermott tried not to give up hope.

''''We played one of the better schedules, top-10 schedule, in the country, and if that's important, then we'll have a shot,'' he said.

Xavier: Leading scorer Naji Marshall (ankle) started after missing the regular-season finale. He finished with 11 points, just one in the second half, and eight rebounds.

UP NEXT

Creighton: The Bluejays will likely land in the NIT.

Xavier: The Musketeers split two meetings with Villanova, with the home team winning each.

''We've just got to play as hard as we possibly can, leave it all out there, no regrets mentality, and be the attacking team,'' Steele said.

---

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
M. Ballock
N. Marshall
35.6 Min. Per Game 35.6
15.2 Pts. Per Game 15.2
3.4 Ast. Per Game 3.4
6.9 Reb. Per Game 6.9
44.9 Field Goal % 40.9
42.8 Three Point % 28.6
76.2 Free Throw % 71.0
  Ty-Shon Alexander missed 3-pt. jump shot, blocked by Kyle Castlin 2.0
+ 2 Zach Hankins made tip-in 20.0
  Offensive rebound by Zach Hankins 20.0
  Naji Marshall missed jump shot 21.0
  Offensive rebound by Naji Marshall 30.0
  Quentin Goodin missed jump shot 32.0
+ 2 Ty-Shon Alexander made jump shot 50.0
  Defensive rebound by Mitch Ballock 1:03
  Quentin Goodin missed floating jump shot 1:05
+ 3 Mitch Ballock made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Marcus Zegarowski 1:32
+ 1 Naji Marshall made 2nd of 2 free throws 1:45
Team Stats
Points 61 63
Field Goals 24-60 (40.0%) 26-60 (43.3%)
3-Pointers 10-30 (33.3%) 4-18 (22.2%)
Free Throws 3-8 (37.5%) 7-12 (58.3%)
Total Rebounds 29 36
Offensive 5 8
Defensive 24 27
Team 0 1
Assists 13 13
Steals 6 4
Blocks 1 4
Turnovers 7 9
Fouls 14 13
Technicals 0 0
21 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST
22 PTS, 9 REB, 2 AST
12T
away team logo Creighton 18-14 293261
home team logo Xavier 18-14 362763
Team Stats
away team logo Creighton 18-14 77.9 PPG 36.8 RPG 16.0 APG
home team logo Xavier 18-14 72.2 PPG 39.2 RPG 14.8 APG
Key Players
5
T. Alexander G 15.7 PPG 4.0 RPG 2.7 APG 40.6 FG%
35
Z. Hankins F 10.6 PPG 5.3 RPG 1.1 APG 68.6 FG%
Top Scorers
T. Alexander G 21 PTS 4 REB 3 AST
Z. Hankins F 22 PTS 9 REB 2 AST
40.0 FG% 43.3
33.3 3PT FG% 22.2
37.5 FT% 58.3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
T. Alexander 21 4 3 8/17 4/9 1/1 0 35 3 0 0 0 4
M. Krampelj 14 9 2 7/13 0/2 0/1 4 31 0 1 1 2 7
M. Ballock 10 7 2 3/9 3/8 1/2 0 35 0 0 2 2 5
M. Zegarowski 8 3 3 3/8 2/5 0/0 3 34 1 0 3 0 3
D. Mintz 4 1 2 1/5 1/3 1/4 2 30 2 0 1 0 1
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
T. Alexander 21 4 3 8/17 4/9 1/1 0 35 3 0 0 0 4
M. Krampelj 14 9 2 7/13 0/2 0/1 4 31 0 1 1 2 7
M. Ballock 10 7 2 3/9 3/8 1/2 0 35 0 0 2 2 5
M. Zegarowski 8 3 3 3/8 2/5 0/0 3 34 1 0 3 0 3
D. Mintz 4 1 2 1/5 1/3 1/4 2 30 2 0 1 0 1
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
K. Joseph 2 0 1 1/6 0/3 0/0 1 14 0 0 0 0 0
C. Cashaw 2 3 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 2 11 0 0 0 0 3
S. Froling 0 0 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0
C. Bishop 0 2 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 2 4 0 0 0 1 1
J. Scurry - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Jefferson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Mahoney - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Epperson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Canfield - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 61 29 13 24/60 10/30 3/8 14 200 6 1 7 5 24
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
Z. Hankins 22 9 2 11/15 0/0 0/1 1 32 1 2 1 5 4
N. Marshall 11 8 3 4/12 1/5 2/4 2 35 1 0 2 2 6
P. Scruggs 9 3 3 3/10 0/5 3/4 3 38 0 1 3 0 3
Q. Goodin 8 6 4 3/11 0/4 2/3 2 36 1 0 0 0 6
T. Jones 0 5 0 0/2 0/0 0/0 3 13 0 0 1 1 4
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
Z. Hankins 22 9 2 11/15 0/0 0/1 1 32 1 2 1 5 4
N. Marshall 11 8 3 4/12 1/5 2/4 2 35 1 0 2 2 6
P. Scruggs 9 3 3 3/10 0/5 3/4 3 38 0 1 3 0 3
Q. Goodin 8 6 4 3/11 0/4 2/3 2 36 1 0 0 0 6
T. Jones 0 5 0 0/2 0/0 0/0 3 13 0 0 1 1 4
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
K. Castlin 10 3 1 4/7 2/3 0/0 1 25 1 1 0 0 3
R. Welage 3 0 0 1/3 1/1 0/0 0 15 0 0 0 0 0
E. Harden 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 1 6 0 0 2 0 1
L. Schrand - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Hanson - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Kennedy - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. James - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. Swetye - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Singh - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Frazier - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 63 35 13 26/60 4/18 7/12 13 200 4 4 9 8 27