Back in a groove, Xavier prepares for Ball State

National Sports

Xavier is beginning to get it rolling again.

The Musketeers (7-1) began the season with a four-game winning streak and emerged as the No. 25-ranked team in the country before they were upset by Iowa State, 82-70, in their opening round game of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

Since then, Xavier edged Virginia Tech 59-58 in the NIT consolation game, blew out Central Michigan and beat Oklahoma State in a Big East-Big 12 Battle matchup.

The Musketeers will look to keep their new streak alive when they host Ball State (3-4) Wednesday in a nonconference game.

“The thing that I would say about Ball State is they play really fast, they shoot the ball extremely well,” Xavier coach Travis Steele said. “They try to space you out … We have to do a great job of keeping them off the 3-point line.

“We’re excited to get back out here and continue to finish up our nonconference schedule.”

In the win over Oklahoma State, the Musketeers were led by Paul Scruggs, who scored a team-high 19 points, and Colby Jones, who added 17 points and 12 rebounds. Nate Johnson chipped in with 15 points.

Johnson leads the team in scoring at a 14.6 ppg clip, followed by Jones (12.7), Scruggs (12.0) and Jack Nunge (11.3).

The Cardinals are seeking consistency as they posted a modest two-game winning streak before losing 93-80 to Western Illinois on Wednesday.

Ball State’s Luke Bumbalough finished in double digits for the fourth straight game, scoring 17 points against Western Illinois. Miryne Thomas added 14.

“We’ve made a lot of strides in three weeks and have to be in position to win (against teams like Western Illinois) three weeks from now,” Ball State coach James Whitford said. “We had some guys that weren’t at their best today.

“We got a little overwhelmed and something bad happens on our end. We didn’t talk on transition, and they got three shots in. Those are the young team mistakes.”

This will be the ninth meeting between the teams with Xavier holding a 5-3 series lead. Ball State and Xavier are 2-2 in the last four matchups.

–Field Level Media

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