Jan. 7, 2017
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CINCINNATI - The No. 16/15 Xavier Musketeers made 59 percent of their tries from the floor and sank 10 triples on Saturday afternoon, downing St. John's by a score of 97-82 at Cintas Center.
Freshman Marcus LoVett led the way for St. John's in the loss, setting a new career-high with 32 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including a 4-of-7 performance from beyond the arc. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native also chipped in five rebounds and three assists.
Classmate Shamorie Ponds reached double figures for the 16th-straight contest and tallied 20 or more for the seventh time this season, recording 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting. The freshman from Brooklyn also added team-highs in rebounds with seven and assists with five.
Bashir Ahmed also reached double figures, scoring 10 points and grabbing four boards.
Down 8-2 just over two minutes into the contest, the Johnnies unleashed a 16-1 run to take an 18-9 lead over the Musketeers with 13:13 to go in the half. LoVett paved the way for the Johnnies during the stretch, scoring 11 of those 16 points on 3-of-4 shooting, including a 2-of-3 effort from beyond the arc, and sinking three free throws.
Trailing by nine, Xavier scored the game's next 12 points to regain the lead less than four minutes later. The Musketeers found it hard to miss over the remainder of the period, outscoring the Red Storm 45-14 before the Johnnies closed the half on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 15, 54-39, at the break.
The Red Storm continued its run on the other side of the break, making it nine unanswered with an Ahmed layup to cut the lead to 13, 54-41.
The Musketeers, however, slowly began to build their lead back up, using a 14-4 run to move ahead by as many as 25, 75-50, with 11:30 to play in the contest.
Thanks in large part to a stellar shooting effort from Ponds, the Johnnies trimmed the deficit to 15 on three occasions in the closing minutes of the second half, but Xavier held on for a 97-82 victory to remain unbeaten in BIG EAST play.
The Red Storm will return to action on Monday evening, heading to Washington, D.C., for a 6:30 p.m. matchup with the Georgetown Hoyas. That contest will be televised on FS1 and can be heard on 970 AM WNYM.