After some initial turbulence this season, it appears as if Xavier is back on track.
Sophomore Naji Marshall scored 14 points to lead the Musketeers to a 73-63 win over Oakland in a nonconference game between mid-major programs at Xavier on Saturday.
Following a three-game losing streak, Xavier (5-3) has now won three in a row.
Junior Xavier Hill-Mais scored a game-high 30 points on 13-of-21 shooting for the Golden Grizzlies (3-5). Hill-Mais also added eight rebounds.
Oakland stayed within striking distance for most of the game, only trailing 41-36 at halftime.
Xavier did start out the second half strong and extended its lead to 50-39 with 16:07 remaining in the game, but the Golden Grizzlies didn’t go away.
Oakland answered with an 11-3 run to close within three points at 53-50 with 12:42 left in the game.
Leading 55-52 with 10:08 to go, Xavier earned a bit of separation by scoring six straight points to take a 61-52 lead with 7:46 remaining.
But once again, Oakland didn’t fade, closing back within four points at 67-63 with 1:58 left.
However, that would be as close as Oakland would get.
A basket by Marshall with 1:23 left and a backbreaking 3-pointer by senior Ryan Welage with 39 seconds gave the Musketeers a 72-63 lead with 39 seconds remaining.
Xavier used a balanced approach for offensive production as Welage, senior Zach Hankins and junior Tyrique Jones scored 11 points apiece, and sophomore Paul Scruggs and senior Kyle Castlin each added 10 points to flank Marshall.
Jones added 11 rebounds for the Musketeers, who shot 45.5 percent from the field overall but just 4 of 15 from 3-point range.
Freshman Braden Norris added 14 points for Oakland, which shot 44.6 percent from the field and was 11 of 28 from long range.
—Field Level Media