Graduate student guard Rodney Pryor scored 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting in Sunday's loss to Xavier. (FILE PHOTO: DAN KREYTAK/THE HOYA)
Graduate student guard Rodney Pryor scored 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting in Sunday’s loss to Xavier. (FILE PHOTO: DAN KREYTAK/THE HOYA)

In a back-and-forth game, the Georgetown men’s basketball team ultimately failed to keep pace with the Xavier Musketeers in the final minutes on Sunday, falling by a score of 86-75.

With the loss, Georgetown (10-10, 1-6 Big East) has now dropped six of its last eight games and remains at the bottom of the Big East standings, tied for last place with DePaul (8-12, 1-6 Big East).

Graduate student guard Rodney Pryor scored a team-high 23 points, making 10-of-12 from the floor. Georgetown found itself in early foul trouble with four players picking up two fouls with five minutes left in the first half, forcing the bench to step up. Senior forward Reggie Campbell had five points all season coming into the game, but played 30 minutes and scored eight points, including two three-pointers.

In the first 20 minutes, the Hoyas traded baskets with Xavier (14-5, 4-3 Big East), which contributed to six ties and 18 lead changes. Georgetown shot a solid 50 percent from the floor and made four of their first nine attempted threes.

However, Xavier stood tough, never trailing Georgetown by more than five points and constantly putting pressure on the Hoyas’ interior. Despite its 38.5 percent field goal percentage, Xavier’s ability to get second chances and get to the free-throw line kept the game close. The Musketeers — led by junior guard J.P. Macura’s nine first-half points — scored 14 points in the paint and made 12 free throws in the opening half.

Xavier gained a considerable edge in rebounding. Coming into the matchup leading the Big East with a +7.3-rebounding margin, the Musketeers performed well in this area again on Sunday. The Musketeers grabbed 22 first-half rebounds — including nine offensive rebounds — while Georgetown could not secure a single offensive rebound.

Junior guard L.J. Peak struggled to score early on, but made his first field goal with two minutes left in the first half to tie the score at 30. Xavier responded and closed the half by taking a 34-33 lead off of junior center Sean O’Mara’s tip-in with 42 seconds to play.

Georgetown started slow in the second half, allowing the Musketeers to go on an 18-7 run and jump to a 12-point lead. The Blue and Gray responded with their own 18-6 run, capped by Pryor’s layup to tie the game at 58 with 9:17 left in the game.

After the tie, Xavier took off behind junior guard Trevon Bluiett’s 18 second-half points, including six from the line and two from behind the arc. Sophomore guard Edmond Sumner scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half and added five rebounds. Sophomore forward Marcus Derrickson, averaging 9.4 points per game for the Hoyas, fouled out with six minutes left to play, adding to Georgetown’s 34 fouls on the afternoon.

Musketeers senior guard Malcolm Brennard made the team’s fourth three of the second half to extend the lead to 77-66, which proved to be the dagger in Georgetown’s efforts to re-tie the game. Xavier dominated the Hoyas in rebounds and free throws made. The Musketeers shot 36 of 49 from the line and outrebounded Georgetown 35-21.

Next, the Hoyas host the No. 7 Creighton Blue Jays (18-2, 5-2 Big East) Wednesday night. The Blue Jays, while losing star senior guard Maurice Watson Jr. for the season, still serve as a tough test for Georgetown, which remains desperate for a second conference win.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The game can be viewed on Fox Sports 1 and heard locally on 106.7 FM.

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