Xavier was able to upset #19 Memphis, snapping the Tigers 18 game win streak. The Musketeers were able to get the win 64-62, despite Dee Davis not playing due to a concussion.
Travis Taylor took over the opening minutes of the game to give Xavier a lead and momentum. After a made opening jumper by Jeff Robinson, Taylor went to work on offensive end. Taylor scored 9 of Xavier's 11 points to open the game. That included grabbing a couple of rebounds and putting them back to give the Musketeers an 11-6 lead.
Adonis Thomas hit a jumper to bring the Tigers within four. Brad Redford answered with five straight points. Redford's first shot, ruled a 3 then overturned and made a two, came off a pass from Justin Martin. His second shot, was a 3 coming off a pass from Semaj. Xavier jumped out to a 19-10 lead after Redford's 3.
Thomas hit another big shot, this time a three, to bring Memphis within seven points. D.J. Stephens then blocked Taylor's shot, which was rebounded by Isaiah Philmore and converted. On the next possession, Brad Redford stole the ball came down the court and missed a three. Philmore grabbed another offensive rebound and put it back to give the Musketeers a ten-point lead.
Tarik Black got an and-1 layup with 59 seconds left in the first half to cut the Xavier lead to 30-20. Black would miss the free throw, as the Tigers went 0/4 from the line in the first half. Jeff Robinson hit 1/2 free throws with 31 seconds left to give the Musketeers a 31-20 lead that they would take into halftime.
Philmore opened the second half with a bank shot off the glass. He then later converted two free throws to give Xavier the 35-22 lead. D.J. Stephens, after being held scoreless in the first half, made back-to-back dunks to bring the Tigers back within nine points.
After Taylor made a put-back dunk off a Semaj missed shot, Memphis went on a little run. Geron Johnson stole the ball from Jeff Robinson and dunked it after being fouled to cap off the 5-0 run.
A hook shot by Isaiah Philmore put the Musketeers back up ten. The Tigers refused to go away, however, going on a big 8-0 run to bring Memphis within two. Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford hit back-to-back threes to cap off the run. Philmore made a layup off a Semaj assist to counter the run. Crawford hit another three to bring the Tigers within one. Another made three by Geron Johnson tied the game at 45-45 with 7:48 left to go in the game.
Memphis took its first lead of the game after Geron Johnson hit another three. The Tigers led 50-49 with 6:27 left. A rare made 3-point shot by Jeff Robinson gave Xavier the lead back. Brad Redford hit a 3 as well to give the Musketeers the lead back after they had lost it again.
Semaj made 1/2 free throws to give Xavier a 59-57 lead. D.J. Stephens missed two crucial free throws to tie the game with 1:20 left in the game. Taylor would be fouled after the second free throw attempt missed. Taylor went 1/2 from the line as well as the Musketeers led 60-57.
Joe Jackson hit two free throws to cut the Xavier lead to one. Taylor would be fouled again after the Jackson free throws. Taylor again went 1/2 from the line, but what happened next would define the rest of the game. D.J. Stephens grabbed the missed free throw and as he came down passed it off his teammates leg and out of bounds. Xavier inbounded the ball to Brad Redford who hit both of his free throws. The Musketeers led 63-59 after the free throws.
Joe Jackson missed his 3-point attempt on the next possession, but stole the ball from Justin Martin and finished with a layup to bring Memphis to within two. Semaj was fouled on the next inbounds pass and went 1/2 from the line. At this point Xavier led 64-61 with 1 second left.
A long inbounds pass to D.J. Stephens resulted in a foul by Travis Taylor. Stephens made the first free throw and tried to miss the second free throw intentionally. Stephens threw the ball and missed the rim completely, giving Xavier possession of the ball. Isaiah Philmore threw the ball the length of the court to Semaj who dribbled out the 0.7 seconds, securing a Xavier victory.
Xavier was led in scoring by Travis Taylor who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Isaiah Philmore finished with 15 points. Semaj finished with 13 points, 5 assists and only 1 turnover. Brad Redford finished with 10 to round out the Musketeers. Xavier outrebounded Memphis 45-36.
Memphis was led in scoring by Geron Johnson who finished with 14 points. Joe Jackson finished with 11 points. Chris Crawford finished with 10 points. Memphis shot just 6/17 from the foul line, that is 35.3% overall. This was a big contributor as to why the Tigers were not able to close out the game or keep a lead.
Xavier will be back in action against UMass on Saturday March 2. The game is at the Cintas Center and will tip off at 2:00 P.M.