PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Souley Boum scored a season-high 33 points and Colby Jones added 29 to help No. 19 Xavier beat No. 20 Providence 94-89 on Wednesday night and clinch the second seed in the Big East Tournament.
Ed Croswell scored 17 points with 13 rebounds, and Bryce Hopkins also scored 17 for Providence, which cut a 22-point first-half deficit to two in the second half.
Down six points in the final minute, Hopkins had his putback blocked by Jack Nunge. Boum hit a pair of free throws to ice it and finish one point short of his career high.
It was the Friars’ first loss at home in 16 games this season.
Providence trailed 40-18 in the first half but got within 66-62 in the second before Boum hit a 3-pointer and followed it with a pair of free throws. After PC’s Jared Bynum made a jumper, Jones drove for three straight layups to give the Musketeers a 13-point lead.
With one game remaining, Xavier (22-8, 14-5 Big East) has a one-game lead over Providence (21-9, 13-6) and controls the tiebreaker, having swept their two regular-season matchups.
No. 6 Marquette has already clinched the top seed in the conference tournament, which begins Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Providence made just two of its first 17 shots and trailed 29-13 with eight minutes left in the first half when Cooley picked up a technical foul after stomping out to the middle of the court to complain about a foul.
The Musketeers led 40-18 with six minutes left in the first, but then didn’t make a basket for the last 4:37 of the half. Providence closed with an 18-5 run to make it a nine-point margin at the break, then cut it to 55-53 with 15 minutes to play.
Xavier: Hosts Butler on Saturday to end the regular season.
Providence: Finishes the regular season Saturday against Seton Hall.
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