Overcoming a loss is something Xavier hasn’t needed to worry about in almost two months.
After having their 11-game winning streak snapped, the eighth-ranked Musketeers look to bounce back when they host Richmond in an Atlantic 10 matchup on Saturday to conclude the regular season.
Having already clinched the A-10 regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament. Xavier (25-5, 13-2) stumbled Thursday, losing 71-66 at Saint Joseph’s, which was playing its final game at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse until the 2009-10 season.
It was the Musketeers’ first defeat since losing 78-59 at Temple on Jan. 16 and snapped a six-game road winning streak for the Xavier, which will have a first-round bye in next week’s conference tournament in Atlantic City, N.J.
“This loss is understandable,” Xavier coach Sean Miller said. “We lost to a very good team.”
Derrick Brown had a career-high 18 points and was the only Xavier player in double figures. It marked the second time in three games the Musketeers did not have more than one player with double-digit points. Xavier has five players averaging at least 10.5 points on the season.
Though the Musketeers shot 46.2 percent, they committed 14 turnovers and were slightly outrebounded on an emotional night for the Hawks, who shot 49.0 percent and led by as many as 15 in the second half.
It was the fourth-best shooting performance this season against Xavier, which is holding its opponents to 40.3-percent shooting in 2007-08.
With its focus soon shifting toward an A-10 tournament title and a favorable seed in the NCAA tournament, Xavier shouldn’t have trouble rebounding from its recent setback as it tries to extend its home winning streak over league opponents to 16 games.
Seniors Stanley Burrell, Josh Duncan and Drew Lavender will play their final home game Saturday.
Duncan is averaging a team-leading 11.5 points, while Lavender—who began his career at Oklahoma—averages 10.8 points and 4.4 assists. Burrell, meanwhile, is one of the conference’s top defensive players.
The Musketeers, 15-1 at home this season, will try for a sixth consecutive victory over Richmond in the teams’ only regular-season meeting in 2007-08.
Burrell had 11 points while Brown added seven and 11 rebounds in Xavier’s 71-50 home win over Richmond on Feb. 17, 2007 in their most recent matchup. The Musketeers held the Spiders to 37.8 percent shooting and owned a 40-22 rebounding advantage.
Richmond (16-12, 9-6) won 58-53 at home over Fordham on Wednesday for its fourth win in six contests. Dan Geriot and Kevin Anderson each had 14 points for the Spiders, who are in a three-way tie for third place in the conference.
Geriot is averaging a team-leading 14.4 points on the season, but has scored a combined 26 in two games since posting a career-high 35 points in an 82-71 win over St. Bonaventure on Feb. 27.
The Spiders, who have won three of their last four road games, are looking for their second straight victory over a ranked opponent after winning 80-63 over then-No. 16 Dayton on Jan. 26.