Bluiett helps No. 24 Xavier hold off St. John's 82-77
8:56 PM, Jan 29, 2017
NEW YORK (AP) — Trevon Bluiett had 21 points and 10 rebounds and No. 24 Xavier held off a big rally from St. John's for an 82-77 victory Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Edmond Sumer had 17 points and seven assists for the Musketeers (15-6, 5-3 Big East), but he was helped off the court by teammates with six minutes to play. He made a basket and was hit as he scored, but he had an apparent injury to his left leg. He was unable to take the free throw.
Xavier led 59-44 with 9:50 to play after a 3-pointer by Bluiett, who was coming off a career-high 40 points against Cincinnati. But the Red Storm (10-13, 4-6) just kept chipping away at the lead, and an 8-0 run got them within 68-66 with 4:16 left on a free throw by Marcus LoVett.
St. John's was within two once more at 70-68 before Xavier was able to hold off the Red Storm over the final 3:40.
Freshman Quentin Goodin had a season-high 16 points while J.P. Macura added 14 for Xavier, which had lost four of five.
Shamorie Ponds led the Red Storm, who had won two of three, with 23 points, while Bashir Ahmed and LoVett each had 11.
Kaiser Gates had two points and nine rebounds as Xavier controlled the backboards 45-26.
Xavier: The Musketeers came in having lost four of their last five games, and all the losses were to ranked teams. ... Xavier has three players in the top 16 in scoring in the Big East (Bluiett, Sumner, Macura) and those players are also in the top nine in minutes played in the conference.
St. John's: The Red Storm's 4-5 record at the halfway point in the Big East is their best since 2012-13. Last season St. John's was 0-9 at the midway point on the way to a 1-17 record. ... Tariq Owens, who had four blocks Sunday, leads the Big East in blocked shots at 2.3 per game, and Kassoum Yakwe is second at 2.2. The Red Storm average 6.3 blocks per game, 1.3 more than Big East runner-up Georgetown.
In the four seasons Xavier has been in the Big East, either the Musketeers or St. John's has swept the season series. Xavier has done it three times and the Red Storm did it in 2014-15. Xavier won the earlier meeting this season 97-82.
Xavier: The Musketeers host Seton Hall on Wednesday.
St. John's: The Red Storm host Marquette at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.