What Happened: Beats Me
What Technically Happened: Xavier 83, Seton Hall 87
Xavier came into this game having blown out Marquette the night before in a 7 pm tip and having no one play more than 28 minutes. Seton Hall played a much closer contest against Creighton and had to rely on their big guns to get them home just after midnight struck in Madison Square Garden. However, the story of this game would be that the energetic and at times frantic Pirates were able to overwhelm Xavier for most of the contest and punch their ticket for a meeting with Villanova in the final. Xavier was cold from the floor early, got sloppy through the middle of the first half, and showed life too sporadically in the second half to get themselves across the line tonight.
Xavier's leading scorer tonight was Edmond Sumner who posted a line of 21/9/4 that would have people raving had his team won the game. Ed needed 7-23/3-9/4-6 to get there though, and was not the beneficiary of very many whistles from another embarrassing Big East officiating crew who will now have to answer for why they- oh they never have to answer for anything? Yeah, I would probably not try very hard to get it right then, either. Sumner notably struggled to stay with Isaiah Whitehead when Xavier would go man to man, but had a couple of steals and only 1 of Xavier's 16 turnovers on the night. Although he pressed a bit late, Ed was trying to make things happen, but just was not able to do so with regularity.
Big Game James lived up to his moniker tonight and tried his darndest in the second half to bring Xavier all the way back. He was able to physically move Angel Delgado when boxing him out, which helped keep the otherwise unchecked big man off the glass, leading to Xavier being able to secure some stops. Farr collected 18 and 10 but his 2-7 from the line will probably not be a point of pride after this performance. Farr was also very active at the bottom of the 1-3-1, collecting 3 steals and a block, in addition to making life harder on Delgado on the glass. When Farr started showing the signs of running out of gas a bit in the second half, so too did Xavier's comeback as Seton Hall was able to stretch a lead that had been down to 4 back out to 15 once Farr's effort started to wear him down a bit. Still, for X to still be playing 10 days from now, this is the James Farr we need.
Trevon Bluiett, as pointed out by nearly every single employee of Fox Sports, was quiet in the first half with just 3 points. He got 12 in the second half to end with 15 total, but the fact he played 32 minutes and failed to secure a single defensive rebound is a glaring mark against him on a night when Xavier struggled to keep Seton Hall off the offensive glass. Bluiett shot 5-11/3-7/2-2 and was the catalyst alongside Farr in Xavier's run back into the game in the middle of the second half. Bluiett also ended up fouling out of the game, making him one of three Musketeers to do so, but did so without the aid of a technical foul, unlike the other two. Way to go on just fouling without making the refs mad, Tre.
The fourth player in double figures was JP Macura, who was a worse version of the mixed bag he usually is tonight. He got 10/5/1 with 3 steals, which seems like a good line for JP, but he got it on 3-8/1-3/3-4 which is slightly less efficiently than he usually gets his numbers. He also had a couple of simply befuddling turnovers, one of which earned him an immediate hook from Coach Mack. He was assessed a technical foul after he and Isaiah Whitehead fell down and then stood up while staring at each other too aggressively or something. For Xavier's 1-3-1 to be effective, JP has to walk the line between jumping passes and leaving opponents open, which did not always work out for him tonight. Of his 5 rebounds, 4 were offensive, which fits his MO, but also speaks to the aggression he was showing on offense.
Myles Davis, he of so many gutsy and measured performances for Xavier this year, was as bad as he has been in the past two seasons in the first half. He turned the ball over 7 of the 12 times Xavier turned it over in the first 20 minutes, and looked well off the pace with which the Seton Hall guards were playing. Myles bounced back to make a late three that gave X some hope late in the second half and came up with 4 steals of his own, but his line of 8/3/4 is already weighed down by his 3-10/1-6/1-2 shooting before the 8 turnovers. Myles is a leader and integral part on this team and, although tonight was far from being his night, you can have no doubts he will be back and ready to make up for it when Xavier gets back on the court in the NCAA Tournament.
Jalen Reynolds was limited by foul trouble all night before his night was prematurely ended by foul trouble. Reynolds managed only 16 minutes and went for 6/7/2 on 2-4/0-0/2-2 shooting. All in all, he was productive when on the court, but got involved in a scrape with Derrick Gordon in the first half before being called for a flagrant and technical foul on the same play in the second, a call which I can assume only Seton Hall fans thought was anything short of obscene. Reynolds drew a lot of attention from Seton Hall on the offensive end and forced his shot a couple of times, but was also the only Muskie to play more than 15 minutes and not turn the ball over. Jalen stayed within himself fairly well tonight, was on the wrong side of the whistle (again), and ended up with a frustrating night in which he really did not play all that poorly.
- Xavier was 17-27 from the line, which was pretty much right in line with their 29-83 from the floor and 8-30 from three. All that to say, X could have survived a horrendous shooting night if they had knocked down from free throws and taken care of the ball a bit better.
- Not to be outdone by some of the eye popping turnover numbers Xavier managed tonight, Seton Hall turned the ball over 25 times, approximately 24 of which were in the last 2 minutes when they were trying to learn how to break a press for seemingly the first time.
- No Musketeer who attempted a field goal shot over 50% tonight, which speaks to how team-wide the shooting malaise was.
- Xavier will await their fate on Selection Sunday and we will be here to provide you everything you want to know, and likely more, all throughout the process as we finally have a Selection Sunday where I don't have panic attacks and gain 8 pounds from nervous eating.