Xavier Season Ends In First Round of NIT to Georgia 78-76



In the ultimate metaphor of the 2024 Xavier Basketball season, the Musketeers fell just short in comeback fashion Tuesday night in Athens vs the Georgia Bulldogs.


Down 24 points with 13:25 remaining, Xavier ended the game on a 32-13 run with a shot at victory slipping away in the final seconds of the game. After a Quincy Olivari layup was called a goal tend, the play was reviewed and confirmed a block, but Xavier retained possession with 1.9 seconds remaining. A slow moving inbound play to Desmond Claude with questionable contact from the defense wasn't called and just like that, the 2023-24 Xavier Musketeers season had ended.


Despite the final play, Claude was terrific in the second half. Scoring 23 of his 30 points in the period and going 4-4 from deep. The reigning Big East Most Improved Player kept the team afloat through a game where it looked like all hope was lost.


Xavier's top scorer Quincy Olivari struggled in his homecoming game scoring just eleven points on 3-12 shooting. Despite his struggles, Olivari's two made three-point field goals gave him the Xavier single season record with 106 made 3's.


Georgia's ability to create turnovers and score ended up being the deciding factor in the matchup as they had a 14 point advantage in that category, 22-8 over the Musketeers. They were led in scoring by Silas Demary Jr who had 16 points. The Bulldogs also got a big game from RJ Melendez who had 14 points, helping Georgia advance to face the winner of the Wake Forest/Appalachian State matchup on Wednesday night.


Now for Xavier, they move to next season with an opportunity to improve their roster for another NCAA tournament run. There is an expectation of a major roster overhaul, with experts predicting as many as five players from the current roster moving on in the transfer portal.

This was Xavier's first losing season since the 1996 season. They most certainly will be aggressive immediately to get ready for next year.

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