Seton Hall Pirates

No. 4 Xavier tries to get over lulls as tournaments approach

Leading up to the showdown with Villanova for control of the Big East, Xavier coach Chris Mack had one overriding concern.

"If we play one good half and one bad half, we won't win," Mack said.

That's exactly what happened. No. 4 Xavier came out tight, committed early fouls and missed open shots, and the third-ranked Wildcats raced ahead by 19 points.

Xavier recovered in the second half, cut the lead to three, but couldn't get any closer as Villanova held on for a 95-79 win .

The outcome left Xavier (24-4, 12-3) tied with Villanova (24-3, 11-3) in the loss column for the league lead. It also reminded the Musketeers of their biggest shortcoming in...