This was going swimmingly, right until it wasn’t. Xavier took the lead in their first possession and never surrendered it, stretching it to 14 at one point in the second half. Then Ed Sumner picked up a knock and the wheels fell off. “Picked up a knock” doesn’t do it justice, actually; he landed very awkwardly on his left leg after making a layup and was carried off the floor and eventually into the locker room. It didn’t look good.
What did look good - kind of - was the final score. Xavier was able to get out of MSG with the 82-77 win, but the Sumner injury and a sloppy, 19-turnover performance will combine to drain some of the joy from the result.
The freshmen are figuring it out
I don’t know how you felt about Quentin Goodin before the Shootout, but the last couple of games he has been a really solid second option at the point, both in spelling Ed and playing alongside him. His ball security has been exemplary, something Xavier desperately needs right now. Meanwhile, Tyrique Jones - rough edges in his game and all - has a whole lot of junkyard dog in him, enough that Coach Mack gave him a start tonight. There have been merited questions of toughness for Xavier’s other big men, but Jones is a monster in the middle... he just needs to figure it out a touch on offense.
The bigs are a serious weakness
O’Mara and Gaston didn’t start and combined for 6/5/1 with 4 TO and 6 fouls on 2-5/0-0/2-2 shooting. Tyrique threw in a less than sterling 1-6 from the floor and a couple of TO besides. Meanwhile, Trevon led the team in rebounding as well as scoring. We’re not too many more setbacks from looking like the Szczerbiak-era Miami (OH) teams.
Xavier may be in trouble
Did you see how Edmond Sumner’s knee bent? If you didn’t, just take my word that it was bad. When Sumner went down, Xavier went into an extended slump that allowed the Red Storm back into the game. Quentin Goodin has been rounding into form lately, but I’m not sure how far Xavier goes if he’s the starting point guard and his back up is... well there’s a problem.