To call this game a let down after beating the #1 team in country earlier in the week is a bit of an understatement, yet few summations of what happened today could be more accurate. Xavier came out and, despite Brad having clearly warned them about the dangers of a bad start, surrendered a 9-0 run to begin the game. After briefly recovering, the wheels came off at the end of the first half and a fighback never materialized in the second half until the clock had basically sealed Xavier's fate of another fruitless trip to New Jersey. Until it was all but too late, Xavier was sloppy around the basket at both ends and failed to keep Seton Hall's prominent athletes in check and contianed to the half court.
Everything good started with James Farr for Xavier today, with Big Game James being the lone Muskie to make any sort of positive impact in the first half. He had 11 points and 4 rebounds in the first frame, leading Xavier in both categories. He would finish with 17/8/0 on a respectable 6-10/0-0/5-7 shooting line. All this was made more notable by the fact that Farr did it in 23 minutes. Today things weren't falling near the hoop for anyone other than Farr, but without his efforts it would have been a much darker day for X.
Myles Davis overcame a scoreless first half to make a few late shots to help X eat into, but ultimately not overcome the lead. He was alone with Farr in the "Musketeers who scored with any efficiency" category, notching his 15/2/5 on 4-8/3-5/4-5 shooting. Davis also only accounted for only 2 turnovers and grabbed a couple of steals himself as atonement. Like most of Xavier, Davis produced late in the game, but turned out to have left it too late to overcome the defecit.
Trevon Bluiett struggled through a really rough shooting day both at the rim and in his mid range game. He ended up with a line of 17/5/2, which reads like a pretty decent game until one considers the 7-16/3-8/0-0 he chuckled up to get there. Trevon has had some really efficient games this year, but today he never really got it going and took a lot of shots to get his points.
Today's struggles were typified by those of JP Macura, who has been excellent over the last two weeks up until this game. Working out of the 1-3-1, JP caused numerous problems for Seton Hall's offense as Xavier forced 18 turnovers. JP had 4 steals, but managed a line of 6/2/1 on 2-9/1-4/1-2 before fouling out. So much of what had made X tick since the Creighton loss was JP's efficiency on offense, and his usual spark was diminished by the fact he struggled to score the ball efficiently.
Jalen Reynolds managed 19 minutes and to draw the ire of at least one official for no apparent reason. Jalen was the recipient of a pretty perplexing technical in the second half when it appeared that X could be on their way back into the game. He ended up with 7/3/1 on 3-7/0-0/1-1 shooting, but failed to pull in a single defensive rebound. Working out of a 1-3-1, it is imperative to rebound as a team and Jalen was the victim of a lot of missed assignments on the perimeter and weak side, while also being culpable himself on a couple of occasions. While he was not entirely to blame for his lack of impact on the defensive boards, X could have used a bit more out of Jalen there today.
Xavier's main struggle on offense today was in the paint, where they were outscored 42-36, which is astoundingly close given Xavier's lack of a finishing touch around the rim. X ended up 20-50 from 2 point range, good for only 40% (for those of you who aren't out of first grade yet) and saw chance after chance to get back into game go by the wayside as numerous layups fell off the rim. Hard to be mad about some of the bad breaks, but the fact is close shots are the ones that a team tries to get and Xavier could not convert them today.
- Desi Rodriguez had another massive day at Xavier's expense, scoring a career high 27 points on 9-16 from the field, and added 12 boards to complete the performance.
- Xavier shot 11-17 from the line today, just in case you thought maybe that went well.
- Isaiah Whitehead had a staggering 8 turnovers today, but hit a couple of big threes to keep Xavier at bay and shot 9-10 from the line.
- Xavier had only 12 assists on 30 makes, which is way down from the numbers they put up against Villanova. Make of that what you will.