Jones leads Xavier over No. 10 Seton Hall, win streak ends.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Xavier got a much-needed and highly unexpected big win that might jump start its season.
“Just to be able to come here, in a great environment and face a Top 10 team and leave here with a victory, it says something about Xavier basketball,” said Jones, who was 9 of 10 from the field and added four blocks”.
“It says we’re not far off,” the 6-foot-9 senior forward added. “We’re right there. We’re right where we want to be. We could turn this thing around and go on a run.”
The Musketeers (14-8, 3-5 Big East) came into the game having lost lost four of five. They dominated against Seton Hall (16-5, 8-1) ending its longest winning streak since taking 12 in a row in 1988-89.
A flu-ridden Naji Marshall had 19 points and 10 rebounds and KyKy Tandy added 14 points for Xavier, which built an early 24-point lead and never looked back.
Seton Hall was held to a season-low 22.2% shooting from the field and outrebounded 51-22.
“We got taken to the wood-shed,” Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said.
Pirates leading scorer Myles Powell was limited to nine points on 3 of 14 shooting. It was only his third game under double digits this season and his first in a game where he was not injured.
“Our team did a great job just making it tough on him,” said Xavier coach Travis Steele, whose team also made a big run late last season, winning six of seven before the conference tournament.
“We’ve had consistency issues, so we need to pick it up and keep this one going,” said Marshall, who was 7 of 12 from the field despite feeling under the weather.
Quincy McKnight led Seton Hall with 15 points before having to leave with an injury to his left knee with 6:02 to play. Willard had no update and a school spokesman said an MRI was planned on Monday.
The game started at 11 a.m. and Xavier was ready. Seton Hall wasn’t.
The Musketeers scored 18 straight points after giving up the opening basket and they didn’t stop there. They built a 30-6 lead on a layup by Quentin Goodin with 7:44 left in the half.
Xavier hit 12 of its first 17 shots and dominated inside, holding a 30-9 edge on the glass in the half, including 9-2 on the offensive boards.
“That’s as good of a big-man performance that I have seen since I have been at Xavier,” Steele said of Jones, . “And against Seton Hall, they have 7-2, 7-2. He was absolute animal.”
Jones’ 19 points were three shy of his career high and his 18 rebounds were two off his collegiate best.
The Pirates didn’t pick up their intensity until the final seven minutes of the first half. They managed to cut the deficit to a dozen behind Rhoden and McKnight.
Seton Hall made a couple of runs and got to within seven points with roughly seven minutes to play but it never got closer.
Powell has struggled during this now completed three-game homestand. He had 14 points on 3 of 6 shooting against Providence and 24 against DePaul on 7 of 21. That’s 13 of 41 on the home stand. “I think teams are doing a good job of throwing two or three guys at him off screens. They are doing a good job of putting bigger, taller guys on him. He’s getting good looks but every once in a while you go through a stretch of not shooting the basketball well.”
Xavier: After good effort in recent losses, Xavier has a chance has a chance to get back into the NCAA Tournament picture. It has to put together more games like this and improve its free throw shooting. It was 9 of 20 against the Hall.
Seton Hall: The Pirates were due for a bad one after this was it. They got away not playing their best against Providence and DePaul in the last two games but Xavier has answers for their comeback efforts. The Hall should not fall much in the poll, if at all.
NOTES: Xavier had the lead for 38:36. … Xavier had 18 second-chance points. Seton Hall had none. … The Musketeers had eight turnovers. The Hall had 15. …
Xavier: at DePaul on Tuesday night.
Seton Hall: at Georgetown on Wednesday night in start of two-game road trip.