Xavier Basketball showed their gritty side last week. Now they will need to show that grittiness again on Friday night. In a road game against a ranked and resurging Villanova Basketball team.
The Xavier Musketeers are hot off the heels of a suspense-filled week on the court. Winning back-to-back games after trailing by double digits last week. Starting with Georgetown Basketball last Wednesday. A game where Xavier trailed by 17 points late in the first half. Later surging ahead from there to a 81-75 home victory.
Xavier’s cardiac Musketeers followed their Georgetown performance with more suspense. Last Sunday’s win against Butler Basketball was a more narrow one. Trailing by at most 12 points compared to their 17 point deficit against Georgetown. Before starting their comeback in the second half. Coming back to win 70-69 at Xavier’s Cintas Center last Sunday afternoon. With a game-winning free throw from Naji Marshall making the difference.
The Musketeers will need all the help they can get this Friday in Philadelphia. Facing the defending national champion No.22 Villanova Wildcats. Villanova is on a roll after struggling at times in non-conference play. Back in the AP Top 25 this week after a five week absence. The Wildcats are the only team in the Big East without a conference loss.
Friday’s game could feature a comeback of a different kind. Xavier pulled off their back-to-back comebacks without point guard Quentin Goodin. Sidelined with a knee injury since Xavier’s January 6th loss to Marquette Basketball. Goodin could return from his injury on Friday night. According to The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Adam Baum, Goodin fully participated in practice on Wednesday.
Paul Scruggs is filling in at point guard in Goodin’s absence. Scruggs made a career-high five three-pointers against Butler. The bulk of his game leading 23 points last Sunday. Scruggs also led the Musketeers with six assists; the second most of the game. Leading in an area where Goodin leads the team. The Musketeers will need another strong game from Scruggs and the rest of the team on Friday.
Xavier will enter Friday’s game without a win over a top 25 opponent this season. Losing in a drubbing to then No.16 Marquette earlier this month. Along with an overtime loss to then No.8 Auburn Basketball at the Maui Invitational. Meanwhile, the Musketeers will also try to snap a four game losing streak against Villanova. Friday’s game will tip-off at 8:30 PM Eastern time on FS1.