Marquette romps to 95-84 win over Xavier


CINCINNATI (AP) — Andrew Rowsey played at Xavier on Wednesday with a bandage over his left eye, covering a cut he received from a teammate’s inadvertent elbow in practice on Monday.

It didn’t bother him. Rowsey was 4 for 8 from the field, including 3 for 5 on 3-pointers, and 9 for 9 on free throws while scoring 20 points as the Golden Eagles solidified their hopes for a Big East Tournament first-round bye with a 95-84 road win over the Musketeers.

“You only need one of them,” Rowsey said with a smile.

Jajuan Johnson scored 19 points, Katin Reinhardt added 17 and Markus Howard finished with 15 as Marquette (18-11, 9-8) swept the two-game season series against Xavier and moved into a three-way tie with Seton Hall and Providence for fifth place in the Big East.

Sam Hauser scored 12 points to enhance Marquette’s balanced attack.

“I liked how we took care of the ball,” Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “Nineteen assists and only 10 turnovers — that’s been the key to our season. Our guys played like veterans. They played the way you need to play in a tough environment like this. They were as poised as they’ve been on the road in the Big East this season. They made good decision.”

“We had a good week of practice,” Rowsey said, “That was the key to this game.”

J.P. Macura scored 20 points to lead the Musketeers (18-12, 8-9), who saw Senior Night ruined by suffering their sixth consecutive loss, their longest losing streak in 36 seasons. RaShid Gaston added 16 points and Trevon Bluiett finished with 15, 13 in the second half. Malcolm Bernard scored 13 to tie the single-game career high he set on Sunday.

“I’m really disappointed,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said. “Marquette is playing good basketball, but I say that about every team we play.”

Xavier was hampered all night by turnovers. Johnson’s steal and dunk for a game-high 17-point lead, 83-66, with 5:53 left in the game prompted boos from parts of the crowd of 10,071. The Musketeers committed 14 turnovers, helping the Eagles build a 25-9 advantage in points off of turnovers.

Bernard was more disappointed in Xavier’s defense, which allowed the Golden Eagles to shoot a blistering 69.6 percent (16 of 23) from the field in the second half, including 66.7 percent on 3-pointers (6 of 9).

“Our defense was terrible,” the senior guard said. “They had five guys in double figures, three of them (at or) close to 20. That’s God-awful. We should’ve won this game. We should’ve been more fired up. It’s Senior Night, for (goodness) sake.”

Marquette never trailed after center Luke Fischer snapped a 12-12 tie on a layup with 13:57 left to play in the first half. Howard and Reinhardt each went 2-for-3 on 3-pointers and scored 10 points in the first half while helping the Golden Eagles lead by as many as 15 before settling for a 44-31 halftime lead.

The 44 points were the most allowed in the first half by Xavier this season and pushed to 94 the total number of points given up by the Musketeers in the last two halves. They yielded 50 in the second half of an 88-79 loss to Butler on Sunday.

BIG PICTURE

Marquette: The Golden Eagles are building a little head of steam heading into postseason play with three wins in their last four games.

Xavier: The Musketeers have lost six straight games for the first time since a seven-game losing streak during the 1981-1982 season.

AT HOME

Marquette set a Cintas Center record for points by an opposing team. The previous record was 93 set by Creighton on March 6, 2016.

TURNING TIDE

The Golden Eagles have won two straight games against the Musketeers after losing six straight in the series.

UP NEXT

Marquette: The Eagles wrap up their regular season with a home matchup against Creighton on Saturday.

Xavier: The Musketeers head to Chicago to face DePaul in the regular-season finale for both teams.

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