The 23 point margin of victory might indicate this was a romp for the Musketeers to someone who didn't watch the game. Those of us who did watch the game, and are not too shaken up to talk about it, know this was anything but. Trevon Bluiett led the way with 12/5/1, 8 of his points coming in the second half, on 5-9/0-3/2-4 shooting. On a night where things were simply not clicking for Xavier on offense, Bluiett had to work to get back into double figures, but provided the team with a needed spark as the offense struggled through the doldrums early on after the break.
Much more efficient was the work of Remy Abell, who went for 11/4/2 on 3-4/2-3/3-4 shooting and was instrumental in keeping the ball, only turning it over once, which was an oddity on a night where sloppiness was the offensive calling card for Xavier, resulting in a season high 18 turnovers. Abell also held IUPUI's leading scorer Marcellus Barksdale scoreless in the first half, much like the job he did on Levi Randolph on Saturday night. With the offense sputtering, Abell's defensive work was huge in keeping the game in reach until X could take control of the game.
Dee Davis was once again hot and cold, getting 8/1/6 on 2-4/2-2/2-2 but turned the ball over three times, all coming in the first half. As Davis was able to take care of the ball better, the Xavier offense sprung to life putting up 12 assists and 6 turnovers in the second frame, a vast improvement to the 4 and 12 in the first half. Davis was better on defense tonight, as IUPUI point guard P.J. Boutte to no points and 4 turnovers, which is obviously worse than he usually does. Davis as well as Brandon Randolph and Edmond Sumner were all active on defense at the point, which was a refreshing change from the trend of point guards burning Xavier this season.
Speaking of active on defense, defensive whiz-kid JP Macura led the way with 5 steals tonight, turning it into 8/1/0 on a defensive whiz-kid like shooting line of 2-6/1-3/3-4, but it must be said his one three started a series of three straight trips with three pointers for Xavier, which essentially ended the contest with 15 minutes left. Macura forced at times tonight in the first half, but was much more within the rhythm of the offense in the second. It was not only Macura though, as Xavier posted just 4 assists, a season low for a half, on 9 made baskets before assisting 12 of their 14 makes in the second.
Odds and Ends:
- No one in the front court could get it going tonight, with Farr, Reynolds, and Stainbrook combining for 15 points on 10 shots. With the major size advantage held by Xavier tonight, it was discouraging to see these guys limited by the amount of touches they got, not the defense.
- Edmond Sumner had 3 assists tonight to go with only 1 turnover, and his length on defense gave the IUPUI guards a lot of trouble. Sumner only attempted, and missed, one a solitary shot, but the young man made his mark tonight more than in previous games
-Brandon Randolph was also effective tonight with 2/0/2 to go with a steal, a block (!), and no turnovers. Randolph made some things happen in a good way for Xavier tonight, and with Davis a bit streaky again, Randolph and Sumner were instrumental to Xavier's turning it around tonight.
- IUPUI was able to grab 14 points off second chances, but their dedication to the offensive glass cost them a 16-0 advantage for Xavier on fast break points.
Brad will be dropping by later to provide a narrative recap for this one, and we'll have a look at the bracket according to KenPom later.