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Xavier zips up Northern Iowa to win the Tire Pros Invitational

For the second time in two years, Xavier is leaving Orlando with the hardware.

Buffalo v Xavier Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

For 20 minutes, this one went back and forth. Northern Iowa hit 4 of their first 5 threes to run out to a 19-10 lead. JP, Ed, and Trevon got the offense going to spark a 16-3 run that put Xavier back on top, 26-22. A pair of threes put UNI back on top, but Xavier scrapped back and tied the game at 30-30 going into the half.

I don’t know what Coach Mack said at halftime, but it had Xavier prepping the body bags in the second. UNI went 1-7/1-3/1-3 with 3 turnovers in the first seven minutes of the first half while Xavier ripped off a 17-4 run to open the game up. UNI never got back within a single possession after that point.

Trevon was the hero of the first half for Xavier, dropping 12 on 5-11 shooting in the period. He went on to score 21 on a fairly inefficient 7-19/2-10/5-6 shooting line, adding 8 boards and 2 assists. He had a couple roll in and out on him today, though that still doesn’t entirely redeem a 2-10 from beyond the arc. Everything looks good for him right now, the rolls just aren’t coming.

Edmond Sumner continued his vexing early-season struggles. He was good for 17/3/3, but he had 4 turnovers and shot 6-14/0-3/5-6 to get there. He did have 11 on 4-6/0-1/3-4 shooting in the second half, looking more committed to getting all the way to the rim or pulling it back out. He’s lighting on the court, but Ed is dying for a jump shot right now.

Other than those two, though, Xavier’s offense was weirdly ineffective. JP had 10, but he shot 3-9/2-5/2-3 and had 2 turnovers to just the 1 assist. RaShid Gaston had 6/7/0 but shot only 2-5. Sean O’Mara shot once, didn’t score, and was fairly invisible in just 11 minutes of playing time.

One bright spot was the play of Quentin Goodin. He had 6/3/1, didn’t turn the ball over, and shot 3-4/0-1/0-1. He also did this:

And this:

I haven’t been reticent to declare that I think Goodin is going to be a really monstrous player for Xavier, and he’s going out of his way to make me look good in the early going this year. Any hesitation he was playing with earlier in the year is well and truly gone, as demonstrated by that little coast-to-coast jaunt.

Odds and ends

  • Xavier did really well on Klint Carlson, holding him to 9 points on 3-10/2-4/1-2 shooting and never letting him hit a rhythm.
  • UNI got 50% of their shots from beyond the arc, connecting on 10-24 of them. The Muskies’ vulnerability from deep continues to be a story.
  • What else is a story is Xavier’s ability to force turnovers; they turned the Panthers over on 23.6% of their possessions and scored 14 points off of turnovers.
  • Xavier converted 12 offensive rebounds into 8 second chance points, which seems low from what I was hoping.
  • Xavier is 5-0, tied for the best five-game start in program history.