Junior forward Tyrique Jones notched a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds as visiting Xavier had a resurgent second half to defeat Providence 75-61 on Saturday afternoon in Providence, R.I.
Naji Marshall (14 points), Quentin Goodin (13) and Zach Hankins (13) also finished in double figures for the Musketeers, who trailed 32-26 at halftime. Xavier (13-13, 5-8 Big East) quickly rallied to seize control after intermission, channeling aggressive defense and crisp ball movement that led to clean looks on the other side of the floor.
Center Nate Watson scored 16 points and was the only double-digit scorer for Providence (14-12, 4-9). Drew Edwards added eight points, while Kalif Young corralled a team-high seven rebounds.
The Musketeers drained their first five field goal attempts of the second half as part of an 11-0 run that was simply the start of a torrid stretch. Ryan Welage’s 3-pointer at the 11:13 mark gave Xavier a 54-43 lead and meant the visitors already had eclipsed their scoring total from the first 20 minutes.
Xavier made five of its first six attempts from 3-point range in the second half and led by as many as 17 points. The Musketeers shot 29 of 49 (59.2 percent) from the field in the game, compared to a 20-for-56 effort (35.7 percent) for Providence.
Trailing for much of the first half, Xavier grabbed a 22-21 lead on an Elias Harden 3-pointer from the left wing with 5:52 remaining before intermission. Providence responded with a 9-0 run over the next 2:25, punctuating the surge with Alpha Diallo’s dunk.
Xavier registered nearly as many turnovers in the first half (nine) as field goals (10), while allowing the Friars to score 20 points in the paint.
The Musketeers regrouped after halftime and never looked back.
Providence edged Xavier in the teams’ first meeting this season, winning 64-62 on Jan. 23 in Cincinnati.
—Field Level Media