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Xavier outlasts Lehigh to open the season with a win

Xavier got out to a big lead, stumbled through the middle, then held on from the free throw line to win.

NCAA Basketball: Lehigh at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t always beautiful, but basketball is back and Xavier is 1-0. Xavier looked really sloppy at times in the season opener against Lehigh, with too many fouls, too many turnovers, and too many defensive lapses against good shooters. There was also ultimately too much Xavier talent on the floor for Lehigh to cope with, and the Muskies held of for a semi-uncomfortable season opening win.

Trevon and Edmond are as advertised

Kind of the book on Xavier this year is that they’ll go as far as the perimeter firepower - and particularly Bluiett and Sumner - can carry them. That was certainly the case today, as Tre and Ed were irrepressible today. Lehigh switched up between zone and man and ran a lot of looks at the perimeter, but they ultimately didn’t have an answer for what Xavier was trying to do through their stars on the offensive end.

Sean O’Mara is (apparently) the first choice in the post

After all the digital ink spilled about whether Gaston or O’Mara or both would be the favored look for Xavier, is was Sean who got the start tonight. He more or less answered the bell, looking good on the block both in scoring and distributing. He got after the offensive glass well, which was good because Xavier didn’t seem that intent on drawing up plays for him. Also, he lost 15 pounds over the summer and looks really good.

Depth will be a problem for a while

You would have loved to see Kaiser Gates or Myles Davis out there today, but you couldn’t and that was a problem. Malcolm Bernard had to leave the game with a tweaked ankle in the first half, and foul trouble forced Xavier into a zone that Lehigh found fairly permeable. The Mountain Hawks took almost 40% of their shots from beyond the arc, and many of the looks weren’t that hotly contested. Adding a couple more bodies will help Coach Mack be able to vary his looks, but for now expect to see some frustrating minutes if foul trouble crops up for X.

Basketball is back, friends. The summer is over, November is here, and March is on the horizon. Welcome back!