CINCINNATI — Paul Scruggs scored 14 points and made a layup with 11.6 seconds left Friday night, helping No. 21 Xavier hold off Missouri State for a 59-56 victory.
The Musketeers (4-0) never trailed but couldn't shake clear of the team picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bears (2-2) tied it at 56, but Xavier made a free throw and two big plays in the closing seconds.
After Naji Marshall's free throw broke the tie, Tyrique Jones missed a jumper but got the rebound and passed to Scruggs, who drove for a layup and a 59-56 lead. The Bears missed a pair of 3-point shots in the closing seconds.
Jones added 15 points and six rebounds but had five of Xavier's 15 turnovers. The Musketeers again struggled to make perimeter shots, going 5-of-23 from beyond the arc.
Lamont West and Keandre Cook scored 13 points apiece for the Bears, who had 22 turnovers.
The Musketeers were coming off a ragged 63-58 overtime victory against Missouri.
On Thursday, Missouri State plays Miami while Xavier plays Towson in the Charleston Classic.