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Xavier 65, Georgetown 63

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NEW YORK – For the second straight game in the Big East tournament, Xavier knocked off a Top 25 team, eliminating 23rd-ranked Georgetown 65-63 in the semifinals Friday at Madison Square Garden.

The Musketeers (21-12) face No. 4 Villanova, the top seed, in Saturday’s final.

On Thursday, Xavier turned back No. 22 Butler 67-61 in overtime. Xavier is 6-2 against Top 25 teams this season.

On Friday, the Musketeers built a 21-point, second-half lead, then held on for the win. It was the second win for Xavier over Georgetown (21-10) this season. Coach Chris Mack’s team defeated the Hoyas 70-53 on December 31t in the conference opener.

Center Matt Stainbrook topped Xavier with 20 points and nine rebounds. He was 8 of 13 from the floor.

Georgetown got 19 points from guard Jabril Trawick and 15 points from forward Isaac Copeland.

Georgetown freshman forward Paul White drained a 3-pointer to slice the Xavier lead to 59-57 with 24 seconds left before Xavier guard Myles Davis hit one of two from the line for a 60-57 edge two seconds later.

Xavier was 6 of 8 from the line in the last 22 seconds.

Georgetown guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera countered with a layup to get the Hoyas to 60-59, but Xavier guard Dee Davis made two free throws to put his team ahead, 62-59 with 10 seconds remaining.

Xavier had gone 10 minutes without a field goal until freshman forward Trevon Bluiett buried a 3-pointer from the right baseline with 3:33 to play, giving the Musketeers a 57-48 lead. Bluiett’s two free throws with 1:46 left moved the Xavier lead to 59-52.

The Hoyas clawed back from a 21-point hole with 12:21 to play, trimming the Xavier lead to 53-43 on Trawick’s 3-pointer that ended a 10-0 run for Georgetown with 6:07 left.

Xavier started the second half the same way it finished the first half. The Musketeers used a 14-4 burst in the first 10 minutes of the half to grab a comfortable 49-33 cushion.

The Hoyas led by as many as eight points in the first half, before Xavier took control. A 3-pointer from forward J.P. Macura gave the Musketeers a 24-22 lead it wouldn’t lose.

Macura’s basket was the catalyst for an 11-4 run to close the half, giving Xavier a 35-26 cushion.

Stainbrook led Xavier with 14 first-half points, six taking place in that late run.

NOTES: Xavier sophomore G Myles Davis leads the Big East and is 22nd in the nation in free-throw percentage. … Xavier F Trevon Bluiett leads all conference freshman in scoring with a 21.1 average. … Xavier clinched its ninth 20-win season in the last 10 years and its 17th in the last 19 years. … This is the 11th meeting between the two schools. … Georgetown has been to the NCAA Tournament in each of coach John Thompson III’s 10 years at the school.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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