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Xavier and Seton Hall battle to the wire in Newark, not South Orange

This was Big East basketball in all its glory today.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Seton Hall
He came to play today.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier wasn’t looking great to start this one. After taking two straight at home, the Muskies went on the road and immediately went behind against Seton Hall. Seton Hall led 13-5 by the time 4 minutes had come off the clock, and the Xavier offense sputtered all through the first half.

The Muskies had a chance to take it to the half with just a three-point deficit, but Tre missed the front end of a one-and-one.

X came out of the half with a bucket but then gave up a quick 5-0 run to Seton Hall antagonist Desi Rodriguez. At this point in time, Xavier was getting bullied off the floor. Angel Delgado couldn’t commit a foul in the eyes of the refs and he was pushing X out of the paint. On the offensive end, Xavier was settling for jumpers and not making them.

With 10 minutes to play, Xavier was down 51-47 and the Pirates’ student section was loving their super clever chant of “JP sucks.”

Then JP took over. He hit a three. He grabbed an assist for a Bluiett three. He tipped in a miss. He got a steal and drew a foul off of it. The coup de grace came with 80 seconds on the clock, as Tre missed a tough runner and JP flew in from the wing, soared over the other nine players on the floor, and punched the stickback with authority. By the time he landed, everyone knew.

JP doesn’t suck

Seton Hall’s student section chanted “JP sucks” from the time the lineups were announced on through. Why opposing fans continue to tap the glass like that is beyond me, but Macura conclusively disproved their thesis. He was a one-man wrecking crew, splashing threes, forcing turnovers, and punctuating the whole performance with a massive stickback dunk of a Tre Bluiett miss. JP rules.

Kaiser loves his bench minutes

Gates has more or less ceded his starting position to Naji at this point, but it seems to be okay. All he did today was defend like he can, clean the glass, and drill three huge threes. It takes a special upperclassman to give up a starting slot to a freshman, but Kaiser has done that and the team is better for it.

Point guard may be a team position

Q was not good today, turning the ball over 3 times to just 1 assist. Paul Scruggs jumped in and ran the show to the tune of 5 assists and just 1 turnover. Neither guy has been spectacular on a consistent basis, but Coach Mack is pulling all the right strings at the point right now.

That face when your entire team gets hammered on on national TV...