Isaiah Philmore dropped a career-best 23 points on Creighton.
March 15, 2014
NEW YORK - Xavier put together a second-half rally that came up short in an 86-78 loss to No. 14 Creighton in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship at Madison Square Garden in New York on Friday night.
Senior Isaiah Philmore poured in a career-high 23 points, eclipsing the 17 points he scored earlier this season at Alabama. Semaj Christon, who tallied 18 points to go along with seven assists, and Justin Martin, who registered 12 points, joined Philmore in double-figures.
Creighton broke the game open in the final 7:30 of the first half after Martin picked up his second foul and had to sit for the remainder of the frame. The Bluejays closed the half outscoring the Musketeers, 21-13, to carry a 45-33 margin into intermission.
Xavier weathered another run in the second half that saw it fall behind by 19, 71-52, with just over eight minutes remaining. But Xavier countered with ten unanswered to cut the deficit to single digits with 5:19 on the clock.
XU kept on chipping at the lead. Following a Bluejay free throw, Christon knocked down a floater in the lane to get the Musketeers within eight, 72-64.
A three-point play from CU's Will Artino extended the margin back to double-digits, but Xavier countered with five-straight from Philmore. Xavier further whittled the lead on a high-arcing three from Dee Davis. CU held a slim, 77-72, lead following the trey with 1:23 on the clock.
That was a close as the Musketeers got, as the Bluejays went 9-for-10 from the charity stripe down the stretch to close out the contest.
Xavier finished the game 33-of-65 (51 percent) from the floor, but allowed Creighton to connect on 27-of-49 attempts (55 percent). The Musketeers took care of the ball, committing only four miscues compared to 10 for the Bluejays, but CU connected on eight more triples (11-3) than XU and outscored Xavier 21-8 from the free-throw line.
A hot shooting first half by Creighton put Xavier in a hole at the break. The Bluejays knocked down 15-of-28 (54 percent) of their field goal attempts, including 7-of-15 (47 percent) from long range. Xavier connected on 14 of its 31 attempts (45 percent), but went just 2-for-10 behind the arc.
Doug McDermott led all scorers with 32 points. Ethan Wragge tallied 17 and Austin Chatman chipped in 11 to give Creighton three scorers in double digits.
Xavier will await its postseason fate during the selection show on Sunday. The Musketeers have made seven of the last eight NCAA Tournaments.