Last year, Xavier opened up the Big East season with a surprise win over St. John's. This year, the Muskies had higher expectations coming into the home game against Georgetown and walked away with a similar result. Here are three things we learned tonight/this morning.
James Farr is still in there somewhere
Farr has struggled on offense (to say the least) this year, but he showed flashes of his old self today. He opened scoring with a 17-foot jumper, then hit a three. By the time it was all said and done, he had scored 9 on 3-3/1-1/2-2 shooting while still offering his usual top-notch work on the glass and defending the lane. If he can punish defenses when they leave him wide, wide open, Xavier becomes borderline unplayable on the offensive end.
We're apparently a team that forces turnovers
Coach Mack's teams have just never really done that. It's always been about man-to-man defense and cleaning up on the glass. This year, Xavier has shown zones, presses, and man traps. I don't know if it's the depth of the roster or just Coach Mack growing as a person, but the Muskies forced 8 first-half turnovers and 16 overall. That's not bad at all.
This team is tough, physically and mentally
The game got physical as it went on, but the Muskies weren't backing down at all. JP Macura chested up to his man after a loose ball, then had to play peacemaker to pull Jalen Reynolds out of a fray. Jalen eventually got the softest of techs after finishing through contact and then admiring it. James Farr was making dirty work plays all over both lanes. Just as vitally, the team responded with an 8-0 run when Georgetown pulled it to within a basket in the second half. They still need to do it consistently on the road, but they brought their grown-man game tonight at Cintas.