clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Xavier coach discovers one key to tournament victories (Maryland fans HATE him!)

Sue me about the headline; I’m tired.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Maryland vs Xavier
“Do that one thing we talked about!”
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hey fellow Xavier fans, do you remember the key exchange of last night’s game? Let me refresh your collective memories:

12:57 Trevon Bluiett made Three Point Jumper. Assisted by Quentin Goodin. 50 - 50
12:10 Sean O'Mara made Jumper. 52 - 50
10:54 Trevon Bluiett made Three Point Jumper. Assisted by Quentin Goodin. 55 - 50
10:00 Trevon Bluiett made Three Point Jumper. Assisted by Quentin Goodin. 58 - 50
9:09 Kaiser Gates made Three Point Jumper. Assisted by J.P. Macura. 61 - 50

Xavier was down 50-47 when Q threw that pass to Trevon. Just under four game minutes later, Xavier had ripped off a 14-0 run that turned the game from a disconcerting battle to something a lot more comfortable for Musketeer fans to watch.

Those plays above were important. These plays were even more so:

12:39 Melo Trimble missed Three Point Jumper. Trevon Bluiett Defensive Rebound. 50 - 50
11:51 Melo Trimble missed Layup. RaShid Gaston Defensive Rebound. 52 - 50
11:15 Melo Trimble Turnover. 52 - 50
10:17 Justin Jackson missed Jumper. Xavier Defensive Rebound. 55 - 50
9:24 Melo Trimble Turnover. 58 - 50
8:51 Ivan Bender missed Jumper. Xavier Deadball Team Rebound. 61 - 50

Coach Mack calls three consecutive defensive stops a kill. What Xavier did against Maryland during the pivotal sequence of last night’s game was string together back to back kills when the team needed them the most.

Trevon’s suddenly coming to life was obviously huge for the Muskies, but defense makes the difference between a 14-0 run and, say, a 14-8 one. If Maryland had been able to stick home a few buckets while Xavier was going off, last night’s game might have taken on a distinctly different feel.

Somebody - I can’t remember whom, but he was really smart - said during our most recent Sunday Conversation: “I think we can be a second weekend team if we figure out a way to string stops together. Tre has the potential to go ham and roll us through a couple of rounds if we don't let the other team answer every time down.”

That held true last night, and I think it will hold true going forward. Xavier’s offense has the punch to stay dancing; all they need is a few timely kills at the other end.