Xavier ends losing streak with win over Hoyas
CINCINNATI (AP) — As the first half wound down, point guard Edmond Sumner headed to the end of the Xavier bench, sat down and winced. His left shoulder was hurting so bad.
Not bad enough to keep him from frustrating the Hoyas again.
Sumner led a second-half surge that swept No. 22 Xavier to an 86-75 victory over Georgetown on Sunday, ending the Musketeers’ longest losing streak in three years.
Xavier (14-5, 4-3) had dropped three straight — all against ranked Big East teams. On Sunday, the Musketeers allowed a 12-point lead to slip away in the second half before their injured point guard frustrated the Hoyas (10-10, 1-6) for the second time this season. Sumner had a career-high 28 points in an 81-76 win at Georgetown on Dec. 31.
Sumner wore a support on his injured left shoulder and had trouble shooting layups with his left hand, leaving him in pain when he tried. Sumner made a pull-up jumper, a three-point play and a pair of free throws during a 12-3 run that put Xavier in control 70-61. He finished with 14 points.
“I mean, he’s as tough as nails,” coach Chris Mack said . “He was really locked into what I was asking him to do. He’s banged up. He’s playing through it.”
Xavier hasn’t lost four in a row since the 1900-2000 season and was relieved to end its three-game slide.
“In this whole process, we’ve been saying, `Let’s get back to our winning ways, let’s get back to what we do best,'” said guard Malcolm Bernard , who had 12 points. “So I would say this feels really good, for sure.”
Trevon Bluiett led Xavier with 24 points. J.P. Macura added 20.
Rodney Pryor scored 23 for Georgetown, which lost for the sixth time in seven games. The Hoyas understood why they lost this one.
“Fouling and rebounding, those two areas,” coach John Thompson III said.
The Musketeers repeatedly drew fouls by driving to the basket and went 36 of 49 from the line. Georgetown was 11 of 14. Xavier also dominated the boards 35-21, allowing the Hoyas only one offensive rebound.
Xavier dropped from 15th to 22nd last week after road losses to Villanova and Butler. A home loss to Creighton on Monday put Xavier in danger of dropping out of the Top 25.
GEORGETOWN: Junior guard L.J. Peak scored 21 points and had six rebounds in the loss to Xavier on Dec. 31, keeping the Hoyas in the game with clutch shots down the stretch. The Musketeers clamped down in the rematch — he was only 3 of 12 for 12 points.
XAVIER: Free throws again were an issue early. Missed free throws were a major factor in the Musketeers’ 72-67 loss to Creighton on Monday, when they went only 16 of 29 from the line. They were only 12 of 19 from the line in the first half, which ended with Xavier up 34-33.
Macura’s 20 points were his most since the last game against Georgetown, when he had 23. Macura had to leave the game for a few minutes because of a problem with one of his shoes. He wound up wearing Bernard’s shoes the rest of the way.
“My shoe was like flat, like something popped, like an air bubble or something,” Macura said. “It felt really, really weird. I used Malcolm’s spare pair.”
It was the Musketeers’ first game since senior guard Myles Davis left the team. He was suspended for the first semester while a court case was settled. He was reinstated and played in the last three games — failing to make a field goal — before ending his career on Friday.
The Hoyas host No. 7 Creighton on Wednesday. They split their series last season, with each winning at home.
The Musketeers play at crosstown rival Cincinnati, which is ranked No. 20. Xavier has won three in a row and seven of the last nine in the annual game.
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