When things click into gear for this Xavier team, they are scary. After surrendering a 16-1 run in the early going and trailing by 9, Xavier putnup 45 points over the final 13 minutes of the first half, leaving Chris Mullin and the Red Storm without an answer and the Cintas Center with a taste atop one of college basketball's best conferences. By the time the dust had settled, Xavier had put 6 players into double figures, won the battle of the benches by 23, and doubled up St. John's in the paint to the tune of 48-24. Make no mistake: this was a shootout played at the Johnnies' pace, but Xavier's ability to thwart the Red Storm's shot blockers meant that they had the guns to make this one a laugher.
- Xavier's bench might be turning a corner- Quick quiz: who has the best efficiency rating in Big East play this season? Obviously Kaiser Gates does. The sophomore is playing 55% of minutes since conference started and has been the most efficient qualifier on any team thus far. He led the way for the Xavier bench today with 17 and was joined by 5/3/3 from Sean O'Mara, who is shooting 70% now against the Big East. Tyrique Jones added a spectacular 10 and Quentin Goodin turned in 20 solid, and most importantly, turnover-free minutes. After being called out in post game presser against Wake, these guys have started to play.
- Xavier can survive a starter struggling- Only Ed Sumner and JP Macura have gone for double digits in all of the last three games for Xavier. With Bluiett sbut down at Georgetown and Gaston a non-factor today, X simply moved the ball to the hot hands the past two games and the offense has found a way to get it done. Some nights you won't fire on all cylinders, but Xavier has chalked up a pair of wins in spite of that in the past week. That being said...
- If ever there was a time to be at their best, this is it- Xavier has three of their toughest games of the season coming up: @ Villanova, @ Butler, and home for Creighton. These games will give X a chance to stake their claim in the Big East title race, but will be the most demanding stretch in conference play. Wins over the next two weeks are invaluable come March. Thank goodness we have Myles back.