Xavier uses late first-half surge to cruise past Providence

Trey Green scored a game-high 23 points with five 3-pointers and Desmond Claude added 21 points as visiting Xavier beat Providence 85-65 on Saturday afternoon.

The Musketeers (8-8, 2-3 Big East), who had previously lost three of their last four games, never trailed after a 13-1 run late in the first half that gave them a 41-40 lead at halftime.

An additional 9-0 spurt to begin the second half for Xavier included an opening 3-pointer by Quincy Olivari, who finished with 10 points). The Musketeers had an overall 22-4 run surrounding halftime.

Gytis Nemeiksa added 11 points and seven rebounds for Xavier, which shot 50.8 percent from the floor.

Josh Oduro scored 20 points while Devin Carter had 18 points and seven rebounds for Providence (11-6, 2-4), which has lost four straight games, all since Bryce Hopkins went down with a season-ending knee injury.

The Friars led by as many as 11 points at 28-17 after Jayden Pierre pulled up for a deep 3-pointer with 9:10 remaining in the first half before shooting just 25.0 percent (6 of 24) over the second half. Pierre scored 10 first-half points.

Carter ended Xavier’s second-half spurt to open the second half with 16:39 remaining on a jumper. Nemeiksa hit a pair from deep in 24 seconds to fuel another 11-0 run for Xavier.

Green pulled to the top of the key for a 3-pointer with 11:56 remaining before Carter’s layup helped the Friars begin to an 8-0 run.

A Claude layup got the Musketeers back on the board, less than a minute before Green delivered a run of seven straight points to put Xavier up 73-55 with 7:00 left.

Carter scored four of the next six points for Providence, but a late 10-2 stretch ended any doubt of the outcome.

After the Musketeers jumped out to an early 9-4 lead, Oduro scored five straight points and Rich Barron added a three of his own to lift Providence for the majority of the opening period.

A Green 3-pointer off a Dayvion McKnight block capped a 7-0 run that trimmed Xavier’s deficit to 28-24. Pierre canned another triple with 4:14 left preceded Xavier’s late surge.

Dailyn Swain’s transition dunk made it a one-point game less than a minute before Claude’s straight-on 3-pointer began his personal 5-0 run. Ticket Gaines beat the buzzer from distance for Providence.