GAME NOTES: Following a four-game win streak, the Georgetown Hoyas have dropped two games in a row, and will look to avoid a third as they host the Xavier Musketeers in Big East Conference action at the Verizon Center.
Xavier has won three of its last four games, including an 83-64 victory over DePaul Wednesday in conference play. The Musketeers are 8-5 in the Big East this season, trailing two teams (Creighton and Villanova) ranked in the nation's Top 25.
Having already been on a five-game losing streak in 2014, Georgetown will be doing everything possible to put a stop to this new skid. The Hoyas were dropped by Seton Hall in Big East play Thursday night, 82-67, which set them back to 6-8 in the conference standings.
Xavier leads the all-time series between the two programs, 5-2. The Musketeers took an 80-67 decision at the Cintas Center back on Jan. 15 to extend their series lead.
Xavier didn't have much trouble handling DePaul on Wednesday night, thanks in large part to Justin Martin's career effort. Martin netted 22 points to lead the Musketeers (a career high), and added seven rebounds to his stat line. He was a perfect 3-of-3 from 3-point distance, and hit 7-of-11 from the free- throw line. Dee Davis chipped in 17 points with seven assists, and Semaj Christon added 14 of his own with another seven helpers. Isaiah Philmore came off the bench to score 11 points in the victory.
Christon has proven this season he can be not only a solid and reliable contributor for Xavier, but also one of the Big East's top guards. His 16.5 ppg is a team high for Xavier, as the sophomore is connecting on 49.3 percent of his shot attempts on the year. Christon's 107 assists is second on the team behind Davis' 120, and Christon's 36 steals are a team high. Martin is second in scoring at 11.4 ppg, and Matt Stainbrook is third at 11 ppg.
Georgetown struggled to contain the Pirates offensively in Thursday's night's action against Seton Hall. The Pirates connected on 55.1 percent of their field goal tries in the game, and withstood a Georgetown comeback attempt early in the second half to hang on for the win. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera led the Hoyas with 20 points in the contest, while Markel Starks chipped in 13 and Jabril Trawick added 11 with six rebounds before fouling out.
Smith-Rivera leads Georgetown in scoring this season with 17.1 ppg on 45.4 percent shooting from the field. The guard rounds his stats out with 4.5 rpg, 73 total assists on the year, and a team-leading 33 steals. Starks adds 16.5 ppg with a team-high 100 assists, and Nate Lubick contributes a team-best 6 rpg average.
Since losing three straight games earlier this month, Xavier has been able to rebound nicely for solid wins against formidable Big East opponents. Not out of the running for regular-season conference champ just yet, the Musketeers will be gunning hard toward the finish line.
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