Xavier’s men’s basketball team may have lost its first game against No. 9 Creighton in Omaha, but it reveled in a 75-69 victory in Saturday’s rematch at Cintas Center.

And what a win it was.

By defeating player of the year candidate Doug McDermott and the Bluejays, the Musketeers claimed their first win over a Top 10 opponent since 2007 and defended their home court against a Top 10 team for the first time in a decade.

“This feeling is surreal,” said junior forward Justin Martin, who had his first career double-double with 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.

“It was a total team effort. Since we started declining on the defensive end, Coach (Chris Mack) has been challenging us. We’ve been competing every day in practice to get back to our defensive ways.”

Creighton battled back from a 13-point deficit by taking advantage of a three-minute Xavier scoring drought late in the second half. The Bluejays pulled within three on a Grant Gibbs layup with 4:19 left but drew no closer, as Dee Davis’ 3-pointer launched a 6-0 spurt and the home team prevailed before an arena record-crowd of 10,483.

The Musketeers (20-9, 10-6 Big East) put themselves in good position for an NCAA tournament at-large bid while knocking the Bluejays (23-5, 13-3) out of a first-place tie with No. 8 Villanova in the league standings. Xavier also unlocked its own tie with Marquette and reclaimed sole control of third place.

“Our players played with so much toughness, so much heart,” Mack said. “We had that drought in the second half where we couldn’t score. I don’t know how long it lasted – it seemed like the entire second half there for a little bit. We were stuck at 61, and our defense carried us.”

Mack said the Bluejays were a difficult team to scout because their fours and fives do things other teams’ don’t, but the Musketeers ultimately dictated the outcome by neutralizing McDermott’s supporting cast. While the senior forward scored 27 points, none of his teammates reached double figures – an outcome enhanced by Ethan Wragge’s foul trouble.

McDermott, the nation’s leading scorer, was going to get his points but Mack thought Xavier players’ ability to focus on the next possession was a key factor.

“I thought the mentality that we had on him was great,” Mack said. “And again, we have a lot of respect for Creighton’s cast, but it was our night tonight.”