Xavier knocks off Saint Louis in overtime
by Shannon Russell, USA TODAY Sports
CINCINNATI — Just when the game seemed to be in hand for Xavier, No. 15 Saint Louis roared back to force overtime Wednesday at Cintas Center.
But the Musketeers had the final word in the 77-66 senior night victory.
Saint Louis’ Mike McCall Jr. buried a pivotal three-pointer down the stretch in regulation before Jordair Jett executed a tip-in with 11.8 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
Xavier jumped ahead 65-61 in the extra period following a pair of Semaj Christon free throws. Kwamain Mitchell went 1-for-2 from the stripe after Dee Davis fouled out with 2:15 to go, but an ensuing foul on Jett sent Brad Redford to the line.
Redford converted both shots, making it a two-possession game.
Although the Musketeers went 26-for-37 from the line throughout the night, they made free throws when they counted most. They went 14-for-16 from the stripe in overtime as Saint Louis stars Dwayne Evans, McCall, Rob Loe and Mitchell exited with their fifth fouls.
Christon led Xavier with 20 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists in the victory. Travis Taylor chipped in 19 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, and Redford chipped in 11 points behind 3-for-5 perimeter shooting.
It was a conference-rattling upset for a Xavier team clinging to hopes of clinching the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye in the Atlantic 10 tournament next week in Brooklyn. While the Musketeers (17-12, 9-6) are mathematically eliminated from clinching the top three seeds, they could challenge for the fourth seed if they win out against Butler — and Temple and Massachusetts lose at least once.
If those scenarios don’t play out, Xavier will miss out on a first-round bye for the first time since 2006 and must begin A-10 tourney play next Thursday. It would have to beat four teams in four days to claim the championship and NCAA tournament automatic bid.
For one night, though, the Musketeers reveled in a victory over a second Top 25 opponent in the last three outings. Xavier turned the tables on a Billikens team (23-6, 12-3) that snuffed its 43-game home winning streak against conference foes nearly a … [For more on Xavier knocks off No. 15 Saint Louis in overtime, click here.]