After a pair of lackluster road games, Xavier needed to get healthy at home. ECU and South Florida aren’t walking through that door though, so X was going to have to do it against a real basketball team with a winning record and everything.
Enter Creighton, KenPom’s #15 team. After a cagey start - this first FG didn’t come until almost two minutes in - the teams were within touching distance ten minutes in. Then Xavier ratcheted up the defensive intensity: in the next seven minutes, Creighton shot 1-10 and turned the ball over three times as X went on a 20-10 run to stretch the lead to 14.
It was more of the same in the second half, as Xavier continued to defend hard and pound the post on offense. Creighton had no answer for Big Sean one-on-one, and their shading towards the post to help out left defenders on islands that they couldn’t maintain against Xavier’s perimeter players.
A couple of bursts by Creighton showed that they’re not a pushover, but they didn’t meaningfully change anything but the margin of defeat. X may have been staggered on the road, but they were just fine at Cintas today.
This team is different at home
The defensive intensity was present from the tip off and carried on well after the game was over as a contest. Just as importantly, the team that had shot 8-35 from beyond the arc in two road games couldn’t stop drilling threes to the point that Paul Scruggs splashed a pair of them. With the home crowd behind them, Xavier hammered a really good Creighton team.
Tre is back
One game isn’t necessarily conclusive, but you can be forgiven for getting excited about Trevon’s 24/5/2 on 9-16/5-7/1-2 shooting. A month-long shooting slump isn’t easy to break out of against a defender like Khyri Thomas, but Tre was locked in on his home rims today. That was an encouraging performance.
Xavier’s depth is obscene
I don’t know where Tyrique was today, but no bother, because Big Sean (12/4/3 on 5-6/0-0/2-2) couldn’t be guarded on the post. Trevon took almost an entire half to warm into the game, but Kaiser had his back to the tune of 11 and 7 in the first 20 minutes on his way to 16/8/1 on the day. Kerem had 12 and 8. JP had 11/6/5 with just 1 turnover. Q shot about 5 times too many and still had 6 assists, and don’t forget noted sniper Paul Scruggs going 2-3 from beyond the arc. With the exception of Scruggs’s shooting, pretty much all of those performances can be counted on to some extent going forward from each of the guys providing them.
We’ve gotta get Coach Mack mic’ed up
After last night’s all access game between Creighton and Providence, Coach Mack dropped this gem on JP:
Aye Coach Mack jus asked JP what I was thinking “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING???”!!!— C-Weez and The C is for CLASSY (@C_Weez) January 13, 2018
Great stuff, Coach Mack.
Bonus takeaway: Donny Marshall is the worst
Seriously, take this dude’s mic away. If he does any research, he’s forgotten it by the time the game starts, and he mostly just drops hacky taglines and talks about his playing days. I’d rather listen to Coach Mack swear at JP some more.