CINCINNATI (AP)With Xavier badly in need of a win, freshman KyKy Tandy had a career night to help the Musketeers snap a three-game losing streak.
Tandy scored a season-high 18 points, and Naji Marshall also had 18 lifting the Musketeers to a 66-57 victory over Georgetown on Wednesday night.
”KyKy played tremendous,” said Musketeers coach Travis Steele. ”It brings you joy as a coach to see a young man blossom. He did some really good things, but we haven’t seen the complete KyKy Tandy yet.”
Tandy’s 18 points were the most by a Xavier freshman since Marshall scored 20 in a win over Seton Hall during the 2017-18 season.
With starting point guard Quentin Goodin unavailable after tweaking his knee during warmups, Tandy captained the offense down the stretch.
”My coaches and teammates gave me confidence,” Tandy said. ”I knew `Q’ (Goodin) was out. They told me just to play my game.”
Tyrique Jones recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Musketeers (13-6, 2-4 Big East Conference).
Mac McClung led Georgetown (12-8, 2-5) with 19 points. Freshman Qudus Wahab scored nine points for the Hoyas, who have lost five of seven.
A 13-0 run helped Xavier take control in the first half as Paul Scruggs’ 3-pointer put the Musketeers ahead 23-8.
The Hoyas started 3-of-16 shooting and trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half. But four points from McClung during a 7-0 run helped reduce the Musketeers’s lead to 10.
Tandy’s 3-pointer with 14 seconds left in the half put Xavier ahead 35-23. Georgetown’s 23 first-half points tied a season-low, also scoring 23 in a loss at Providence on Dec. 31.
Marshall picked up his third foul with 17:45 left, and McClung’s steal and reverse dunk cut the Musketeers’ lead to eight.
With 7-foot center Omer Yurtseven saddled with four fouls, the Hoyas couldn’t complete the comeback. He finished with six points and two rebounds in 21 minutes, after averaging 21 points and 12 rebounds the previous two games.
”I don’t know if it was foul trouble or not but we need him to play bigger,” Ewing said. ”When he came back, he still only got two rebounds.”
Tandy’s fourth 3-pointer put the Musketeers ahead 62-46 with 4:49 left.
”We regrouped in the second half but we got too far in the hole,” said Ewing.
The Musketeers are trying to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1998-99 and 1999-00 campaigns.
”When we’ve had success this year, we’ve defended well in the halfcourt,” Steele said. ”We played inside out. We controlled tempo. We have to play to our defensive identity. That’s who we are.”
Georgetown: The Hoyas fell to 5-15 all-time versus the Musketeers including a 3-11 mark while both members of the Big East. … It was the first time this season Georgetown was held under 60 points.
Xavier: Following a 20-point loss at Marquette last week, Xavier coach Travis Steele shook up his lineup. Freshman Zach Freemantle made his first start of the season, scoring four points with seven rebounds. Jason Carter also started and had 11 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double this season. ”That could be the lineup moving forward,” Steele said.
TAKING THE BOARDS
After being outrebounded 46-30 in the loss at Marquette, Steele introduced new rebounding drills in practice this week, and it appeared to pay dividends. The Musketeers dominated the offensive glass, scoring 20 points on second-chance opportunities. ”It worked,” Jones said. ”If you can’t get it, tap it out and someone else is going to get it. We pride ourselves on being the nastiest team in the Big East. You saw that tonight.”
Georgetown hosts No. 13 Butler on Tuesday.
Xavier plays at Creighton on Sunday.