NCAA Basketball

Final 1 2 Tot
31 42 73
20 31 51
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET12:00 PM GMT8:00 PM 北京时间5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST, Nov 21, 2019
TD Arena, Charleston, South Carolina

No. 18 Xavier looks to get 'tournament ready' vs. Towson

No. 18 Xavier brings a strong in-season tournament resume into the Charleston Classic, the type of event the Musketeers seek every year to prepare for the bigger picture.

The Big East's Xavier (4-0) will meet the Towson Tigers (2-2) on Thursday in the bracket round of the tournament at the TD Arena in Charleston, S.C., with the winner advancing to play either Buffalo or Connecticut in the semifinal game Friday. The finals are Sunday.

"The reason we play in these exempt tournaments is to play against good competition and also put us in a tournament setting, where we have a chance to win a championship," Xavier head coach Travis Steele said.

"It puts us in a setting similar to the Big East tournament, where we have shorter turnarounds for the next game. And for the NCAA tournament. It's the same thing."

Steele was a Xavier assistant when the ranked Musketeers beat Northern Iowa to win the 2016 Tire Pros Invitational and beat Dayton to win the 2015 AdvoCare Invitational. They also beat Missouri and Clemson in 2016, as well as Alabama and USC in 2015.

Xavier concluded a season-opening four-game homestead with a 59-56 victory over Missouri State in its last game Friday following an overtime victory over Missouri the week before. The Musketeers survived a combined 36.8 recent shooting from the floor in the games by holding those opponents to 39.4 percent and making the big plays in crunch time.

"We have not put together 40 minutes this year, and that has to be our identity," Steele said. "No matter whether we are playing in Cintas (Cincinnati home arena) or Charleston or at Villanova, I really don't care. That's who we are."

Leading scorer Naji Marshall (16.5 points, 6.8 rebounds) made a 3-pointer to send the Missouri game into overtime before Paul Scruggs (12.7 points) scored four points, and Scruggs made a layup with 12 seconds left as Missouri State missed two late 3-pointers.

"We have to continue to get better," Steele said. "The season is an absolute eternity. It is a marathon. We have to get back to the drawing board. We have to learn from wins so we don't take a loss."

Graduate transfers Jason Carter and Bryce Moore, and freshman Zach Freemantle, are finding ways to blend in with Marshall, Scruggs and senior starters Tyrique Jones (14.5, 7.8) and Quentin Goodin (eighth in career assists). Carter had a double-double against Missouri and aggressive defender Moore has a 3-pointer in each of the first four games.

Towson, from the Colonial Athletic Association, will face the latest in a series of strong nonconference opponents after close losses to 2019 postseason teams Kent State (CIT) and No. 15 Florida (NCAA).

Juwan Gray's 3-pointer tied the Florida game at 60 with 2:16 remaining last Thursday before the Gators pulled it out. NCAA tourney teams Vermont and Liberty are still to come.

"We've tried to schedule aggressively," Towson coach Pat Skerry said. "By playing a tough schedule, we have great opportunities. We have to make sure we play the right way getting better.

The Tigers have had a different leading scorer in each game -- forward Gray and guards Nigel Haughton, Brian Fobbs and Allen Betrand. Fobbs, a 6-foot-5 senior, is an All-CAA preseason first-team pick. He made 63 3-pointers last season.

--Field Level Media

Updated November 20, 2019

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