January 26, 2015

Days away from a rematch with the nation's No. 1 team, don't expect Xavier to look past its next opponent.

The eighth-ranked Musketeers have another revenge opportunity at hand in Saturday's trip to scuffling Georgetown.

Xavier (23-3, 11-3 Big East) has had few slip-ups during its unforeseen run into the top 10, but one occurred in an 81-72 loss to the Hoyas in Cincinnati on Jan. 19. The Musketeers were done in by their second-lowest shooting performance of the season at 35.3 percent and a rare disadvantage on the glass, with Georgetown owning a 39-35 edge on one of the nation's premier rebounding teams.

The Musketeers have regrouped to win seven of eight to close within 1 1/2 games of top-ranked Villanova, which visits a sold-out Cintas Center on Wednesday. The Wildcats routed Xavier 95-64 on New Year's Eve.

Conversely, Georgetown (14-13, 7-7) has fallen apart since that last matchup, losing six of eight overall and five of its last six conference games. The Hoyas have been foiled by inconsistent scoring and an inability to win close games, problems that lingered in Wednesday's 72-64 defeat to Seton Hall.

The Hoyas shot 37.7 percent with top scorers D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and L.J. Peak going a combined 10 of 31 and missing 11 of 13 3-point attempts. Georgetown, averaging a Big East-leading 8.2 makes from 3-point range in league play, has hit just 25.5 percent in dropping two straight.

"We have to make sure that we get more than one or two people to show up at a game," said coach John Thompson III, whose team is 2-6 in games decided by five points or less. "(When) multiple people show up we play well."

Georgetown shot 51.0 percent and went 10 of 25 from 3 last month against the Musketeers, with Smith-Rivera scoring 20 points and Tre Campbell amassing a career-high 21 while finishing 5 of 7 from beyond the arc.

Campbell has endured a massive slump since, going 4 of 28 from the field in averaging a mere 1.6 points over his last eight.

Freshman Jessie Govan did provide a bright spot against Seton Hall with a career-high 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting in a second straight start in place of injured center Bradley Hayes (broken hand).

A repeat performance figures to be difficult against Xavier's tough interior defense. The Musketeers limited Butler and Providence to a combined 31.5 percent within the arc in their last two wins and held the No. 23 Friars to 10 points in the paint in Wednesday's 85-74 victory.

Trevon Bluiett broke out of a two-game slump by scoring 17 of his 23 points in the first half and Myles Davis notched a triple-double of 11 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for Xavier, which built a 52-37 lead at intermission.

"I just thought we were clicking on all cylinders in the first half," coach Chris Mack said. "I thought our zone defense bothered them a heck of a lot more in the first half than the second half. It's how we sort of envisioned it if everything went well."

Xavier has won four of six against Georgetown since joining the Big East in 2013-14, including all three meetings last season. Davis had 19 points in a 66-53 victory at the Verizon Center on Jan. 27. 2015.

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