Late Rally By 18th Ranked Xavier Comes up Short
By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer
In what appears to be one of the best overall crowd turnouts, in the history of the ESPN Charleston Classic, 18th ranked Xavier rallied from 17 down to provide an exciting finish before 4000 plus fans, only to come up short (70-65) allowing Florida to go home the 2019 winner. It was the first loss for Xavier, now 6-1 on the year, with the Gators improving to 5-2 after going unbeaten in Charleston.
Down 52-35 with just over 16 minutes to play the Musketeers fought their way back. A pair of back to back 3-point shots by Quentin Goodin. Xavier's Paul Scruggs who lead all scorers with 24 points missed from long range for a chance to tie the game, leaving the Musketeers to foul and subsequently providing the five point differential.
A total of four players scored in double figures for Florida with Keyontae Johnson and Andrew Nembhard leading the Gators with 15 apiece. Kerry Blackshear added 14 points while grabbing a game high 10 rebounds. Noah Locke chipped in 13 points for the winning team. Tyrique Jones and Quentin scored 13 and 11 point apiece for the Musketeers.
While it appeared Florida was going to blow Xavier away in the second half, the final stats were relatively close. The Musketeers early turnovers (18 overall) lead to 22 points for Florida. The Gators just shot better from the field and connected seven times from long range.
In early round action on Sunday UConn trounced Miami 80-55, for third place in the classic. Buffalo got by Missouri State 75-74, with Towson downing St. Joseph's 76-64, claiming fifth and seventth respectively.
The field for 2020 has been announced and may be the biggest yet. Home town fans will be able to see the College of Charleston compete in the Charleston Classic, with veteran programs Penn State, Oklahoma State, Houston, FSU, Tennessee, Seton Hall, and VCU all scheduled to compete next November.