What happened: Villanova 95 - Xavier 64
The Sumner injury will take the headlines here, but there was a lot about the game that followed not to like. The good news is that - at last reports - Sumner was up and moving around at the hospital. He doesn't remember what happened, which is understandable, and has a heck of a headache, which is probably fairly obvious. With another ranked opponent to play in just 48 hours, you'd love to have the team at full strength. The more prudent move would probably be to bring Edmond along carefully, and I have full faith that the Xavier medical staff won't rush him back and the coaching staff won't try to make them.
There are really two stats to know here. The first is 13-25 (52%). That's what Nova, who came into the game shooting a miserable 31% from deep, shot from behind the arc on the afternoon. We knew that the Wildcats weren't as bad as they had looked early in the year, and they demonstrated as much. The other stat is 19 (28.4%). That's how many turnovers Xavier committed and what percent of their 67 possessions ended in a turnover. When you lose your point guard and watch a friend get potentially seriously injured all in one play, ball security is going to suffer. The less said about that the better.
Despite that, there were some decent performances for X. JP Macura came off the bench and had 12/5/2 on 4-6/2-4/2-2 shooting. After he spent the non-conference season in an extended shooting slump from deep, maybe he's turning his stroke around a little bit. The downside is that he had 3 turnovers to go with his 2 assists, seriously damaging his chances of ending the season in the 20%/10% club unless he gets hot.
James Farr seemed as affected by Sumner's tumble as anyone in the immediate aftermath, but he rallied quite nicely to end the game with 15/7/1 on 6-11/0-0/3-4 shooting. He also showed scoring moves to both hands and was basically Xavier's only answer to what Nova was doing defensively in the paint. Jalen Reynolds continues to be the starter, but James Farr has assumed the role of the guy who gets the most and best minutes in the paint.
Depending on how you felt about Sean O'Mara's 5/2/0, that's pretty much where the positives stop on the score sheet. Myles Davis couldn't find a stroke and paired his 5 assists with 5 turnovers when forced into emergency point guard duty. Larry Austin, Jr. was disappointing when asked to deputize for the fallen Sumner, as his ORtg of 15 on the game attests. Figuring that Sumner will be out for at least another game or two, one of those two guys is going to have to run the point. I know who my money's on.
Trevon tried to keep Xavier in the game, but his final shooting line of 2-9/0-4/7-7 tells how successful that was. Jalen never got going, finishing with 6/5/0 in 20 lackluster minutes. If Edmond's point guard responsibilities were unconvincingly fulfilled in his absence, so too was the role of the guy who drags the team out of the depths when the going gets tough. No doubt a lot of that can be written off due to the emotional nature of the final 38 minutes of the game, but you need players who can answer the bell when the going gets tough. Today, Xavier had precious few of them.
Xavier will be back in action against Butler on Saturday. We'll keep you posted on Ed's status and get you prepped for game time.