CINCINNATI (AP) — Trevon Bluiett followed his worst shooting performance of the season with a 37-point effort, and No. 4 Xavier held on for a 102-90 victory over Seton Hall on Wednesday night, securing the Musketeers’ hold on first place in the Big East.
Xavier (24-3, 12-2) has won nine in a row heading into its showdown with No. 3 Villanova on Saturday at the Cintas Center. Xavier leads the league by a game and a half after the Wildcats’ 76-71 loss at Providence earlier Wednesday.
Bluiett missed all of his four shots from beyond the arc and finished with a season-low six points during a win at Creighton on Saturday. He had his touch from the first shot on Wednesday — a nothing-but-net 3 — and finished 8 of 11 beyond the arc, one shy of the school record for 3-pointers made in a game. His 37 points were three shy of his career high.
Naji Marshall added a career-high 20 points. Xavier went 14 of 29 from beyond the arc.
Seton Hall (17-9, 6-7) has dropped a season-high four in a row. Myles Powell scored a career-high 30 points, including 24 in the second half as the Pirates cut Xavier’s 25-point lead to 87-81 with 3:39 left before Xavier finished it out at the free throw line.
It was familiar for the Pirates, who overcame a 17-point deficit on Saturday before losing to Georgetown 83-80, with Powell scoring 25 points.
Bluiett came out determined to set the tone early, hitting four 3s during a 25-11 opening run as he personally outscoring the Pirates 12-11. The Musketeers led by as many as 22 in the half.
Seton Hall: The Pirates are 3-3 against ranked teams, with wins over Texas Tech, Louisville and Creighton and losses to Villanova and Xavier twice.
Xavier: The win kept Xavier’s momentum going into the showdown with Villanova. The Musketeers got a No. 1 seed in the preliminary NCAA Tournament rankings on Sunday, then received five first-place votes while moving up to No. 4 in the AP poll for the first time in school history a day later.
Seton Hall: Hosts DePaul on Sunday. The Pirates won at DePaul 86-70 on Jan. 28, one of their two road wins in Big East play along with a victory at Butler.
Xavier: Villanova has won the last three in the series by lopsided margins, including an 89-65 victory on Jan. 10 — Xavier’s last loss.
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