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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Xavier Loses Third Straight To Big East Elite

The gauntlet is complete and the Xavier Musketeers ranked 22nd took their lumps on the road and took its third straight loos on its home court.  The Creighton Blue Jays  ranked 7th held  on to win 72-67.

Losses to former number one Villanova and 12th ranked Butler led up to the matchup with the Blue Jays. 

Xavier (13-5, 3-3 Big East) rallied from an 11-point deficit with nine minutes to go in the game after head coach Chris Mack after Malcolm Bernard was called for an offensive foul with XU trailing 55-50.  A minute and a half later, Creighton (18-1, 5-1 Big East) led 61-50.

Xavier fought back to take a 67-66 lead with 1:08 left.

Rashid Gaston, who scored 12 points and led all rebounders with 17, made a jumper in the lane after a tip in by 7'  freshman Justin Patton tipped in a missed shot.  J.P. Macura rebounded a missed shot by Marcus Foster and Edmond Sumner tied the game after Gaston pulled in a offensive rebound.

Xavier's Trevon Bluiett stole the ball from Isiah Zierdan and Macura hit one of two free throws on the other end to give Xavier the lead.  They didn't score again.

Patton tipped in a miss by Foster with :49 seconds left

Xavier missed four shots on one trip  Sumner rebounded a 3-poin miss by Bluiett and Gaston missed twice after rebounding Sumner's miss.  Macura was forced to foul Cole Huff following his rebound of Gaston's second miss.

"The ball didn't roll in for us," Mack said.  "It wasn't a lack of effort.  We could have done things better earlier in the game. At times we weren't tough enough>

Bluiett led Xavier with 17 points.  Sumner had 10.  Poor free throw shooting 16-for-29 (55%) cost the Musketeers the game.

"Just taking care of  the ball, paying attention to details and making our free throws will help things go our way," Gaston said. "You've got to go to the line with confidence and knock them down."

Creighton had to play the the last 29 minutes without its floor leader, Maurice Watson Jr..  Watson leads the nation with 162 assists this season and 8.8 per game.  He is also the NCAA active leader with 801, including three against Xavier.

Wataon injured his knee with over nine minutes left in the game.  As a senior who transferred from Boston three years ago, he is also Creighton's emotional leader.

 "It was tough when we lost Mo," Huff said.. "We could have hung our heads. He could have hung his head but he was inspirational on the bench. He was another set of eyes. We are a family. It was guys that don't play much that carried him off. They could hang their heads because the don't play much but they won't leave anyone behind."

Watson did what he could from the bench after he was carried off the court by teammates after the game.

 "It meant the world to me when my teammates carried me off the court," Watson said. "One of the things I wanted to work on was to be a better leader. For them to embrace me like that after I may have been an A hole to them means a lot to me."

There is no structural damage to his knee.

"It hurt really badly when the adrenaline wore off. There is no structural damage but I'm going to live in the training room for awhile," Watson said. "It is tough to put into words whet this means to us. We came in here with a chance to win three times in this building. It is hard to do and I know how far this team has come in the last three years."

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