The Xavier Musketeers were unable to hold off furious Florida State comeback and see their season come to an end in a 75-70 loss.
The game started off with Xavier going down 5-0 in the first 45 seconds before a made jumper by senior JP Macura opening the scoring for the Musketeers.
After Florida State made another three-pointer to make the game 8-2, Xavier would go on an 8-0 run to give them a 10-8 lead just under four minutes into the game.
The few minutes were back and forth, featuring six lead changes before Xavier took the lead and started to take control. They led by as many as nine after a dunk by sophomore Tyrique Jones, pushing the lead to 24-15 with 9:33 left in the first half.
That would be the last make for Xavier for almost nine and a half minutes, as their next made shot would come with 16 seconds left in the half on a three-pointer by Macura.
Florida State managed to come back to tie, and even lead, the game before they went through their own scoring drought. As a result Xavier went into halftime with a slim 34-32 lead.
Macrua led the team in scoring, putting in 10 points. Graduate student Kerem Kanter was second on the team with nine and also grabbed three rebounds. Freshman Paul Scruggs provided a scoring boost as well, chipping in six points.
Xavier came out of the break strong, making their free throws and getting points in transition. Sophomore point guard Quentin Goodin was responsible for four transition points, slamming home a dunk and finding Macura for a transition layup to give Xavier a nine point lead with 15:44 left in the game.
After Goodin picked up his fourth foul with 12:17 left, Xavier switched to its 1-3-1 zone defense and forced two straight misses from the Seminoles from three-point range. As a result, Xavier led 56-44 with 10:32 to go.
Macura picked up his fourth foul with 8:55 left in the game and was forced to sit on the bench. Despite two starters on the bench with foul trouble, Xavier managed to hold a 62-53 lead with 7:26 left.
The Seminoles continued to keep it close however, going on a 7-0 run before a Kanter basket pushed Xavier’s lead back to four. With 3:34 left, Xavier only led 68-64.
Florida State would end the game on an 11-2 run, and win the game 75-70.
Macura led Xavier in scoring with 17 points in addition to grabbing five rebounds and two assists. Kanter was second with 15 points in addition to six rebounds. Scruggs also finished in double figures with 11 points. Senior Trevon Bluiett had eight points and two steals.
Historic season for Xavier comes up short
It was a historic season for the Xavier program. Bluiett reached several milestones to put himself in the conversation for best Xavier career. Macura moved into the top-20 on Xavier’s all-time scoring list and continued to play with a fire and passion that drove opposing fans crazy. The team even won the Big East regular season championship.
With a few minutes left, it looked like Xavier would avoid the same fate as two years ago when they lost a heartbreaker to Wisconsin. Although they technically avoided that, this one hurts just as much to end a historic year the program.