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Xavier 68-66 ETSU: Three Takeaways

Xavier made this one way harder than it needed to be, but avoided an embarrassing loss on the heels of finals week.

NCAA Basketball: East Tennessee State at Xavier
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Naji Marshall is a factor now

With JP Macura MIA today and ETSU keying on Trevon Bluiett, Xavier needed a spark in order to get back into the game. Enter Marshall, who is looking more and more like the crown jewel of Xavier’s freshman class. With nothing falling on offense, Marshall gave Xavier a massive jump by attacking the tin relentlessly and creating havoc at the top of the 1-3-1 zone. On a day when JP just wasn’t JP, Naji filled the void by using his length and array of driving moves in the paint to torment Xavier’s opponent.

There is no quit in this squad

After sleepwalking through the first 25 minutes of the game, Xavier was down 51-29 and looking for all the world like they were done. With the help of key baskets from Sean O’Mara, Kaiser Gates, Kerem Kanter, and Quentin Goodin, Marshall and Bluiett shouldered the load for Xavier down the stretch as they ended the game on a 39-15 run to nick the win.

Tre is still a killer

Xavier has had some guys who were the go to guy when the team needed a basket, and on this iteration of the team it is obviously Bluiett. From his performances in the NCAA Tournament last year to silencing the Kohl Center earlier this season, he simply answers the bell every time X needs it. It was no different today, despite going 7-22 overall, as Xavier got the ball into his hands in a tie game with 11 seconds left and brought home the win. It is like clockwork at this point.