After carrying a seven-point lead into the half, Xavier let things slip early in the second to allow Tijuca to trim the lead to one at 39-38. From then on out, Xavier outscored their hosts 37-4, including a blistering 23-0 stretch that put the game beyond all doubt. That stretch ran for 11 minutes as Xavier's defense locked things down to allow the offense to pull away.
Jalen Reynolds once again led the way, going for 16 and 8 to lead the team in both categories. He also went 4-5 from the free throw line, which is probably the most important facet of his performance going forward. He may not have the physical advantage in the Big East like he does in Brazil, but he is certainly going to be spending plenty of time at the free throw line, and he needs to be able to convert at a decent clip to be a more viable part of Xavier's offense.
Remy Abell, Brandon Randolph, and Trevon Bluiett all also chipped in 10 points. Abell shot 3-5/0-1/4-4, Randolph 3-7/0-2/4-4, and Bluiett 4-8/0-3/2-2. You'll notice that all of those guys shot well from the line but poorly from behind the arc. That was a team-wide trend, as Xavier was an excellent 22-25 from the stripe but a frankly startling 0-12 from behind the arc. I wouldn't read too much into that right now, but it is historical fact.
I'll use bullet points to break down some other things from the box score:
- I'm starting to like Sean O'Mara; dude seems to just have a nose for the ball.
- Matt Stainbrook was back in action tonight after missing the first two games with a minor ankle injury. He played seven minutes and went for 4/4/1.
- Edmond Sumner had 5 assists and 4 turnovers; he is spending a lot of time with the ball in his hands with Dee Davis still out, and hopefully the experience will pay off in the season.
- Xavier once again dominated the boards, grabbing 10 of 28 rebounds at their own offensive end and 33 of 45 on the defensive glass.
Here are your highlights:
And Coach Mack's comments:
Xavier is back in action tonight against Flamengo in their final game before leaving Brazil.