What happened: Xavier 85 - Auburn 61
This game started out about establishing Jalen Reynolds, and he responded with one of his best games of the season. He still managed to pick up 4 fouls in just 21 minutes of play, but along the way he also went for 18/6/0 on 7-9/0-0/4-6 shooting, punctuated by a couple of fairly thunderous dunks. When Jalen is on and going, Xavier becomes really difficult to stop and things really open up for the rest of the offense. The Muskies will need him at his peak in Big East play.
The other half of Jalmes Farrnolds was also effective today, putting up 12/11/1 with 3 blocks and 1 steal in just 20 minutes of play. Unlike Jalen, James avoided foul trouble the whole way. Coach Mack showed a little bit of an extended look with both players on the floor today, and it was another interesting twist a full X squad can throw out there. James didn't do anything particularly wrong to only play half the game, but there was no point in putting extra miles on his chassis today.
Auburn's scouting report apparently said to walk away from Edmond Sumner at the three-point line, which he was apparently fine with. He had 13/6/5 with just 2 turnovers on 3-6/3-5/4-6 shooting. Sumner is doing everything you'd ask of a freshman guard right now; heck, he's doing everything you'd want from a guard of any class at this point. He controlled the ball, didn't force his own shot, got to the line, and managed to score 13 points on just 6 shots. How many years of this kid do you think we're going to get at Xavier?
Tre wasn't brilliantly efficient today, but he got a burst of buckets early in the second half to keep Auburn at arm's length and ended the game with a 4-11/3-7/2-2 shooting line on his way to 13/4/1 with 2 steals and no turnovers. As long as someone else is scoring, Trevon seems content to let that happen. When the team needs a bucket though, he can really get them in bunches.
Xavier once again clubbed an opponent on the glass. The Muskies boasted a 45.5% OReb% and a 77.1% DReb%. The Musketeers absolutely owned the glass on both ends, and that resulted in a 24-2 (!) advantage in second-chance points. In a 24-point win, any category that you win by 22 points was probably a big part of the effort.
Speaking of owning the paint, Sean O'Mara deserves a paragraph here. Sean had his best game in a Xavier uniform, going for 10/6/1 with no turnovers on 3-6/0-0/4-4 shooting. O'Mara looked very confident out there in his 14 minutes, working hard on the post against some pretty good opponents and cleaning up the offensive glass on misses. He has the right of first refusal on that third big man position at this point.
Odds and ends
- Myles only had 5 points today; fortunately Xavier is really deep.
- Former Xavier recruit Kareem Canty put in a big effort, going for 25/4/4 and shooting 8-16/5-9/4-7, but he looked all alone out there at times.
- JP only had 4 points, but he had 4 more assists and just 1 turnover. Also, he got karate chopped in the throat and was called for a foul for his trouble.
- Remy was 1-1 from deep. Keep taking your shots, Remy; having him ready to jar 'em if he's left open is big for Xavier.