New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The sixth-seeded Xavier Musketeers will try to muster another upset as they tangle with the second-seeded Georgetown Hoyas in the semifinals of the 2015 Big East Conference Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
Xavier had a tough matchup in the quarterfinals as it took on No. 22 Butler in the final game of the evening. Although the Musketeers led for less than two minutes in regulation, they managed to overcome a narrow deficit late in the second period to force an extra session, during which they took control to claim a 67-61 decision over the Bulldogs. Coach Chris Mack's team made good on 43.6 percent of its shots from the floor, and limited Butler to 39.3 percent.
The Hoyas began their postseason on Thursday with a hard-fought, 60-55 win over a feisty Creighton Bluejays squad. Coach John Thompson was fortunate that the Preseason Big East Player of the Year and First Team all-conference selection D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera returned from an injury after missing the regular-season finale. Smith-Rivera scored 12 of the Hoyas' final 14 points, as the team took one step closer to winning its eighth Big East Tournament Championship, which would give it the outright record for most titles.
Georgetown struggled in the half-court versus Creighton, hitting only 37.8 percent of its field goal tries, including a 6-of-17 effort from 3-point range. Smith-Rivera netted 25 points in the contest, while starting center Joshua Smith produced 10 points and five boards in 21 minutes of action. When Smith-Rivera was inactive due to injury in Georgetown's win over Seton Hall last week, senior forward Jabril Trawick paced the team with 19 points and freshman guard Tre Campbell chipped in with 13. Trawick and Campbell combined to go 3-of-9 from the floor for a total of 11 points on Thursday.
Xavier has been a model of consistency, finishing with a .500 record or better in conference play a national-leading 33 years in a row. Mack's team is now 2-1 overall in the Big East Tournament after going 1-1 last season in its debut. The Musketeers certainly have the offensive prowess to make a run, as they came into the postseason leading the conference in field goal percentage (.478), free-throw percentage (.735) and assists (16.9).
Myles Davis, Dee Davis and Matt Stainbrook netted 13 points apiece for Xavier on Thursday night. Stainbrook recorded a double-double after pulling down a team-best 10 boards, while Trevon Bluiett posted 11 points and six rebounds. Bluiett, who was a unanimous selection to the Big East All-Rookie Team with a team-high average of 12.2 ppg to go with 4.5 rebounds per tilt, is usually the go-to guy for the Musketeers.
Xavier completed a season sweep of the Hoyas in convincing fashion, as the Musketeers cruised to a 70-53 win at the Cintas Center in their Big East opener before picking up a 66-53 decision in the nation's capital on Jan. 27. Smith-Rivera was limited to 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the floor in the most recent matchup between the teams.