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Xavier knocks off Clemson to advance to Tire Pros Invitational final

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Xavier rode a hot first half from JP Macura to a lead that a shaky second half couldn't surrender.

NCAA Basketball: Buffalo at Xavier
Today's hero.
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

There were times when this one looked like it would be a runaway, as JP's hot shooting had Xavier up by double digits in the first half. Macura had 23 on 9-12/5-6/0-0 in the first on his way to a career-high 28 on the game. Clemson cut it to as few as three in the second half, but Xavier held on down the stretch to move to 4-0 on the year and into the final on Saturday. Here are three more things we saw today...

Trevon doesn't like being overlooked

Tre and Clemson star Jarron Blossomgame were jawing back and forth all day. Bluiett comprehensively outplayed his counterpart in the game and told him about it in a way we haven't seen since he gave Henry Ellenson an earful of garbage last year. Ellenson and Blossomgame were both more highly fancied prospects than Tre; he appears to enjoy eating a guy's lunch in front of the scouts and then telling him about it.

Sean O'Mara is ready to eat

Xavier's junior big man rolled out 10 points on a cool 4-4/0-0/2-2 shooting line today. When he gets position within about eight feet of the bucket, he's really difficult to stop. I understand that Xavier is inundated with perimeter talent, but O'Mara isn't out there to protect the rim and/or look pretty. If he's deep in the post, Xavier needs to take the automatic two points.

There's still plenty of work to be done

When someone can't miss, it's easy for the offense to look good. In reality, Xavier is still really working to get things going. They had just 6 assists on 14 made baskets in the second half and turned the ball over 18 times on the game. I counted at least four turnovers that were clear miscommunication, as the cutter went to one spot and the pass went to another. That's part and parcel of working in four new pieces to an eight-man rotation, but you'd still like to see it cleaned up soon.

On the other hand, 4-0 is a pretty good place to be right now considering how rough Xavier has looked at times. The Muskies will play in the championship game Saturday at 7:30pm against the UNI/Oklahoma winner.