Xavier Basketball’s 2018-19 season is still going strong. After beating Toledo Basketball 78-64 Wednesday evening at Xavier’s Cintas Center. Surviving and advancing in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
This was a tight battle throughout the first half between two skilled Ohio teams. The game was all tied at 27 going into halftime. The Xavier Musketeers went into full throttle in the second half. Outscoring the Toledo Rockets 51-37 after the halftime break. Leaving Xavier with a comfortable enough lead to send in their bench players in the final minute.
Naji Marshall led the Musketeers and this game with a double-double. Scoring a team leading 20 points and a game leading 21 rebounds. Only four of those rebounds were offensive rebounds. Marshall was the only player on either team with double-digit rebounds. As if this wasn’t impressive enough, Marshall also had a game-leading six assists.
Marshall wasn’t the only Musketeer to have an impressive game. He was one of four Musketeers with double-digit points in this game. Tyrique Jones scored 14, Quentin Goodin had 11 and Paul Scruggs had ten. No Musketeer though had the most points in this game. Toledo’s Jaelan Sanford led this game with 23 points.
Xavier will face No.2 seed Texas Basketball Sunday in Austin, Texas. That game is set to tip-off at 4:00 PM Eastern on ESPN. Texas beat South Dakota State Basketball 79-73 on Tuesday. The Texas Longhorns will go into this game with a 17-16 record. They were one of four Big 12 teams that weren’t selected for the NCAA Tournament.
The Musketeers still have a chance to host a quarterfinal game by winning on Sunday. Since No.1 Alabama Basketball was upset by No.8 Norfolk State Basketball Wednesday. Some major conference teams fall asleep at the wheel in the NIT’s first round. Alabama stands out as the most notable team to do so this year. While Xavier had one of their best performances of this season.
Xavier played with the intensity one expects from a college basketball team in March. To Toledo’s credit, the Rockets also evoked that intensity in the first half. The Musketeers have the potential to go far in the NIT. Especially if they harness the energy they showed on Wednesday.