November 16, 2019 / 2:24 AM / a month ago

Marshall helps No. 21 Xavier escape Missouri State

EditorsNote: Corrects missed 3-pointers in closing seconds in graf 3; other minor edits

Nov 15, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Xavier Musketeers head coach Travis Steele yells to his team during the first half against the Missouri State Bears at the Cintas Center. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Naji Marshall sank a free throw with 57 seconds left Friday night after Missouri State’s Keandre Cook was called for a technical foul for flopping, snapping a tie and lifting No. 21 Xavier to a 59-56 non-conference win at Cintas Center in Cincinnati.

It was the last of 12 points for Marshall, who was one of three Musketeers in double figures. Tyrique Jones scored a game-high 15 points and grabbed an offensive rebound of his missed shot, leading to Paul Scruggs’ layup with 11 seconds left for a three-point lead.

The Bears (2-2) had a chance to force overtime, but Tyrik Dixon missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds. Lamont West and Cook each tallied 13 points, while Dixon scored 12 to go along with six rebounds.

Neither team handled the ball well. Missouri State, picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference title, committed 22 turnovers that led to 25 points. Xavier (4-0) coughed it up 15 times, but the Bears managed just 14 points.

Gaige Prim’s transition dunk with 1:30 remaining enabled Missouri State to even the score at 56, but the Bears couldn’t quite get over the hump.

Xavier landed the first punch, scoring 10 straight points in a 4:36 span to start the game. Scruggs capped the run with a transition layup. Missouri State missed six straight shots and committed three turnovers before West drilled a 3-pointer at the 15:09 mark.

After falling behind 22-11 with 8:59 left on two foul shots by Scruggs, the Bears found traction on both ends of the floor. They went on a 12-4 spurt, capped by a 3-point play from Cook with 5:26 remaining that sliced their deficit to 26-23.

Missouri State got a layup from Dixon off a Musketeers turnover with 32 seconds left in the half, enabling it to head for the locker room down just 32-30. Both teams shot 52.2 percent from the field but had trouble with turnovers, combining for 22, 12 by the Bears.

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