Big East Tournament: No. 7 Xavier holds on to defeat No. 10 Georgetown 70-67

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One year ago, Xavier concluded their season with a 13-game losing streak, including a Big East tournament first round loss to Georgetown. In 2015, however, they were able to return the favor and were able to pull out the victory in the final minutes, defeating the Hoyas 70-67.

Junior guard Aliyah Zantt recorded her first career double-double with 18 points and ten rebounds, including a huge rebound in the final minute to put the game away for the Musketeers. She had also stepped into the point-guard role with a couple of her teammates were out with injuries.

“We lost a couple of our point guards earlier in the year so I knew I had to step up into that point guard role,” she said. “I just fed off what my teammates gave me.”

Despite the win, Xavier head coach Brian Neal said that the Musketeers did not play their best against the Hoyas.

“We certainly didn’t play our best game of the year but the great thing for us is that we hung in there and battled and made the plays down the stretch,” he said.

The big plays down the stretch would complement the Musketeer’s early resiliency. Georgetown raced out to an 8-0 lead before the Musketeers could answer, although they finally did with a three from Zantt. Into the under-16 timeout, the Hoyas led 10-5.

Xavier settled down following the timeout and cut the deficit but were not able to take their first lead until just under eight minutes to go in the half. At the under-8 timeout, the Hoyas led 23-22.

The Musketeers controlled the first half from there and were up by as many as 34-27 with 1:36 to go in the first, but a three-point play from Big East freshman of the Year Dorothy Adomoko got the Hoyas to within four, which would be the halftime score as Xavier led 34-30.

Xavier kept the Hoyas at bay for the opening minutes of the second half and did not allow them within five until the under-12 timeout. Georgetown finally tied it back up at 46-46 with 11:36 to go in the game and it was a tightly contested affair from there.

The Musketeers could not get any breathing room until there was 2:27 to go in the game. Already with a four-point lead, Zantt nailed an open three from the top of the key to give the Musketeers a 63-56 lead.

The Hoyas crept back, however, and got the game back to within two points. With the Musketeers up 67-65, Zannt went to the line with 16 seconds to go in the game. She hit the first shot but missed the second. Off the second miss, however, Zantt fought off two Hoyas to grab her own offensive rebound and drew a foul to earn two more free throws.

“I had to go get the ball,” she said. “We make our shots or miss our shots, we just have to hustle and go get the ball.”

Zantt hit both of her next shots to put the game away. Georgetown hit a bucket in the final seconds to make the final score 70-67.

“We knew starting with this game that it was going to go to the last four minutes no matter what,” junior forward Briana Glover said. “We knew that we were going to have to keep grinding them out.”

With the win, Xavier advanced to the Big East tournament quarterfinals to play No. 2 DePaul.