Claude Leads Big Xavier Comeback With Career High 36 Points Over Hoyas

                                (Photo by Trent Grayson)


On Saturday Night in Washington DC, the Xavier Musketeers dug themselves into a deep hole against the Georgetown Hoyas. At the end of a week where Head Coach Sean Miller questioned his teams efforts on his radio show, the team responded with a huge rally, giving them another much needed win heading into the post season.


With 4:14 remaining in the first half, Georgetown's Jay Heath knocked down a three-point field goal giving the Hoyas a 40-25 advantage going into the final media timeout before halftime. In a half where Georgetown shot 53% as a team and 62% from deep, the Musketeers knew if they were going to win this game, they had to dig deep to pull it off.


Xavier had a brutal half, shooting just 1/8 from 3, and 11/29 from the floor. Thankfully, their ability to attack and get to the free-throw line kept them alive and within range to pull off a run. 


Enter Desmond Claude


With 10 points in the first half, Claude was their leading scorer. Although he missed his only three, Des was aggressive, getting downhill with his inate ability, and boy did his team need him in the second half.


Xavier was down 49-37 at the half, they scored 61 points in the second. Claude had 26 of those alone shooting 10/12 from the floor and 6/7 from the free-throw line. Georgetown simply could not stop him from getting to the rim, no matter what they threw at him, it wasn't good enough.


The Hoyas managed to stay in the game, as a matter of fact Xavier didn't take the lead back from Georgetown until the 3:30 mark when Claude had another layin. Des followed that up with jumper to extend the lead. As Georgetown was fighting to stay in the game, they sent a double at Claude with 1:23 remaining in the game trailing Xavier 87-84, In this moment, Claude swung the ball over to Dayvion McKnight who hit a big 3 for Xavier extending their lead to 6.


Through the remainder of the game, the teams traded scoring but Georgetown wasn't able to string together a run leading Xavier to the 98-93 win, their 15th of the season and 9th of Big East play.


Here are a few takeaways from Saturday's Win:


Kachi Nzeh Earns His Starting Spot:

For the second straight game, freshman big man Kachi Nzeh got the start. The former 3-star recruit had 13 points shooting 5/5 from the floor and 3/4 from the stripe. Safe to say Nzeh will be in the starting five Wednesday at Butler.


Glimpses of 2025:

Late in the first half, Sean Miller used a lineup that should get Xavier fans really excited for the 2025 season. Miller played Claude. Nzeh and McKinght with freshman Trey Green and Dailyn Swain showing the Musketeer die hards the potential this team has for next year.


Overcoming Olivari's Struggles:

One of the rare occurrences this season where Xavier didn't get a good shooting game from star guard Quincy Olivari, and the Musketeers still pulled off the win. Olivari was just 2-12 from the field, and 2-8 from deep. He still managed to get 16 points with 10 made free-throws.


Up Next for Xavier:

As the Musketeers look to continue their much needed winning ways, they make their annual trip to Hinkle Fieldhouse to face rival Butler. Xavier defeated Butler in a game earlier this season at Cintas Center 85-71. Saturday Butler snapped a five-game losing streak with an 82-63 victory over DePaul. Tip-Off will be at 7:30 PM EST and the game will air on CBS Sports Network.

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