J.P. Macura sends No. 11 Xavier past No. 19 Seton Hall 73-64
By TOM CANAVAN
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Xavier guard J.P. Macura was booed by the sellout crowd at Prudential Center before playing No. 19 Seton Hall, booed every time he touched the ball and cheered at almost every mistake.
Not only didn't it bother him, he got the final say.
Macura had a spectacular one-handed dunk on a late rebound to highlight a season-high 27 points, and No. 11 Xavier handed Seton Hall its first loss at home by rallying from a 10-point second-half deficit to beat the Pirates 73-64 on Saturday.
"In warmups I was paying attention (to the student section) a little bit because they were screaming at me but it didn't affect me during the game," said Macura, who finished 8 of 14 from the field including three 3-pointers, and 8 of 10 from the free-throw line. He had six points in the final 2:21.
His 27 points were two shy of his career high.
Trevon Bluiett added 15 points and the Musketeers (18-3, 6-2 Big East) held Seton Hall to seven points in the final 6:42 in winning their third straight after two straight losses.
"I feel like I play better when people talk to me," said Macura, who got a reputation around the league as a whiner when he was younger. "I try to shut their mouths as much as possible and it was super satisfying when they left the arena with us up seven and time still on the clock."
Macura not only scored, he made all the hustle plays down the stretch, diving on the floor to force a jump ball with the arrow pointing to the Musketeers with his team ahead five and less than two minutes left on the clock.
Desi Rodridguez, who picked up three fouls in the first half, had 13 of his 19 points in the second half for the Pirates (15-5, 4-3), who lost for the first time in 12 home games. Khadeen Carrington added 14 points and Angel Delgado had eight points and 18 rebounds.
"It's disappointing any time you lose at home in this conference," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said. "Holding home court is extremely tough because it's really hard to win on the road. The crowd was great and I thought our energy was great, but you have to give J.P. Macura credit because he really did something in the last four minutes that swung the game."
Seton Hall, which has been slow starting games lately, used an early nine-point run to take a 13-5 lead and never trailed the rest the half, opening a 35-30 lead. It boosted the margin to 42-32 early in the second half when Myles Powell capped a six-point run with a dunk.
The Pirates' lead was still 49-41 with 14 minutes to play when Xavier started to close the gap. A basket by Macura ignited 9-2 spurt that got the Musketeers within 51-49. A 3-pointer by Macura later gave Xavier its first lead since the early minutes at 52-51. There were three leads changes over the next five minutes before Kaiser Gates gave the Musketeers the lead for good at 61-59 with a 3-pointer with 4:21 to play.
Xavier: There were some questions about the Musketeers after they lost consecutive games at Providence and at No. 1 Villanova. Coming back to beat Creighton and St. John's at home and Seton Hall on the road shows there is nothing wrong with a team headed for its fifth straight NCAA Tournament and 12th in 13 years.
Seton Hall: The Pirates have hit a bit of a slump, losing two straight and three of four. They will probably slip out of the Top 25, but they now have eight days off to get things right. There is enough talent to get back to the NCAAs.
Xavier: Hosts Marquette on Wednesday.
Seton Hall: At DePaul on Jan. 28.
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Updated January 20, 2018