CINCINNATI – St. Johns fought his shots though his top scorer had returned and saw Xavier score a 75-67 win on Sunday in the second half.
Senior Guard Mustapha Heron, who missed the last three games with a sprained right ankle, had 11 points when he returned in 22 minutes.
Naji Marshall scored 20 points, newcomer KyKy Tandy made four 3s in his best performance for Xavier. The Musketeers (12-3, 1-1 Big East) started a tight game by finally getting some long-range shots. Tandy scored three times in a row and ended the career with 12 points.
Tyrique Jones had his eighth double double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Red Storm (11-4, 0-2) shot only 35 percent of the field and went 1 out of 16 from the bow. LJ Figueroa led with 17 points.
St. John did better early on with his pressure defense, which forced four sales in the 11-0 run.
Marshall hit a pair of three that Xavier got going, and Jones had a pair of baskets that the Musketeers took between 19 and 18 in the lead. There were six leadership changes in the first half that ended with the Musketeers, who led 34-32 despite 13 sales.
Both teams struggled with bad shots in the first half. The Red Storm missed all nine shots from outside the bow, while Xavier only scored 4 out of 11 free throws.
Tandy broke up with three 3s in a row when Xavier took the 59-49 lead in the middle of the second half and had the rest of the way under control. Tandy went 4 out of 6 from the bow in total.