What happened: Xavier 98 - Creighton 93
Don't call it a comeback, because it wasn't. Xavier had this game in hand, leading by as many as 18 in the second half, before giving up on playing defense and nearly giving the game away. Creighton shot .508/.400/.633 on the day, and only that horrible showing from the line kept this one from being a semi-tragic loss on the eve of tournament season.
It was another slow start for Xavier, as Xavier was down 11-3 before the game came fully to life. An early flagrant foul assessed to Jalen Reynolds for unclear reasons put X on their heels, and Creighton hit threes on three straight possessions to jump out to a big lead. It took a couple of defensive adjustments from Coach Mack to get the team back going, and a 17-0 run for Xavier across halftime set up a seesaw second half.
Fortunately for Xavier, Myles Davis plays for the Muskies. As the officials took Edmond Sumner out of the game, Myles flipped between both guard positions and dropped a cool 24/2/7 on 6-10/5-8/7-8 shooting. As Creighton tried to claw all the way back in, Myles kept stopping runs with big threes. He had a couple of silly turnovers when the game looked to be well in hand, but other than that he was nails all game.
Trevon matched Myles tit-for-tat for a while, and he ended with 17/3/5 on 5-11/3-6/4-6 shooting. He had four turnovers on the day, which really marred his efficiency on the day. Tre had real trouble on the glass at both ends of the floor today, which is uncharacteristic for him, especially against a team as soft inside as Creighton.
Jalmes Farrnolds was not soft inside, going for 24 and 9 in 37 minutes of play. James in particular was strong, dropping 10 in the first half on his way to 16 and 5 on 6-9/0-0/4-6 shooting. It's hard not to feel for Jalen at this point, as he is clearly being targeted by the officials. That early flagrant got him off his game, but he was 4-4 from the line on the day.
Senior day was good to Remy, as he was a huge part of Xavier's defensive turnaround through his really solid man play. He also had probably his best offensive game since Butler at home, going for 15/3/4 on 5-8/1-3/4-5 shooting. I know we've said it a million times, but having Remy be able to be something other than a vacancy on offense is a huge part of this team's ability to put its best defensive lineup on the floor.
Kaiser Gates was amazing today. He went for 11 and 8 and dropped an ORtg of 253 thanks to a shooting line of 3-3/3-3/2-2. JP posted an unexpectedly flaccid 5/4/4 today, and having Kaiser fill the roll of bench scorer was tremendous for Xavier.
Ultimately this one turned out way too close for the Muskies. They tore through Creighton for about 20 minutes in the middle of the game, then just drifted. It was almost too late when they managed to pull it together just enough to hold on to the win. Xavier set a program record for wins in a regular season this year, and they'll go into the Big East tournament looking to solidify their place in the conversation for the top couple of seed lines in the NCAA tournament.