For a half, Xavier was toe-to-toe with a team that has the best resume in the nation. The Muskies led at the interval by a score of 34-31. Xavier came out well behind a three from team leader Trevon Bluiett, but that was a false dawn more than a continuation of the first half. With 10:32 left in the half, Trevon left the game with his fourth foul and Xavier down 1. When he checked back in three minutes later, Xavier was down 7 and fading fast. The final five minutes or so were perfunctory.
This team desperately needs Myles Davis
Xavier was miserable against the Baylor zone when Trevon Bluiett went out. With JP shooting poorly, there was nobody on the court who could hit long jumpers and nobody willing to fill the high post. Xavier’s offense consistent of launching long jumpers and passing to Baylor players; neither of those were effective. Couple that with Xavier’s 17 turnovers and 16-28 from the line and you have a Myles Davis-shaped hole in this team.
Trevon Bluiett is back in form
Let’s talk about Tre for a minute, because he alone among Muskies was looking good. He shot 6-10/6-10/5-5 and dropped a cool 23/7/1 game line. If he hadn’t been limited by foul trouble, he may have gone for 30 and helped Xavier stay in this one. He wasn’t able to, and JP shot 2-16/1-6/2-4 in trying to pick up the slack.
The post is a problem
Sean O’Mara started and had 2/2/0 on 1-2/0-0/0-4 shooting. He has to score to influence the game, and didn’t seem that inclined to try to take the game to Jo Lual-Acuil on the post. Tyrique Jones and RaShid Gaston combined for 13 boards, including 10 on the offensive end, but they shot a combined 2-8/0-0/1-6. Xavier couldn’t dump the ball inside for points and couldn’t turn offensive rebounds into second chance points. That combination puts a lot of pressure on the perimeter players to carry the load, and they weren’t capable of doing that today.