One of these teams has a pair of guards who can really shoot the basketball. I mean, give them a clean look at the basket from behind the arc and you know it’s going down. I refer of course to noted snipers Quentin Goodin and Paul Scruggs, who came out white hot in the first half, combining for 21 points on 8-11/4-5/1-1 shooting.
Markus Howard had 24 first-half points all by his onesie, but Xavier went into the interval up 51-33 and looking for all the world like they were going to run Marquette off the floor.
It turns out they were. Marquette hit a three in the first possession to cut it to 15 but never got closer than that. The rest of the game was basically an exhibition framed around the question of whether or not the walk-ons could get onto the court. X stays working.
Throw it up and throw it down! pic.twitter.com/BVBIjjlApy— Xavier Gameday (@XavierGameday) January 25, 2018
Naji Marshall can really defend
Andrew Rowsey - the store brand JP Macura - dropped 31 on Xavier at Marquette in December. This time around, Coach Mack gave Naji Marshall the assignment, and Naji apparently took it personally. Rowsey could not shake free at all and wasn’t able to support Markus Howard’s big night. Naji had Rowsey on an island all day, and Rowsey will surely be glad to be done with X for the year.
Xavier has absurd big men
Kerem Kanter - one game after getting basically nothing in just 9 minutes - was back to his old antics, scoring basically at will in the paint. The man who pinch hit for him against Seton Hall - your friend and mine Sean O’Mara - more or less had his way as well. The fact that Xavier has been dominating in the paint while Tyrique has been nursing the dinged up hand is a testament to the depth Coach Mack has developed at center.
Congrats, Trevon Bluiett
Tre curled off a screen midway through the second half and pulled up off the bounce from 17 feet. He had three Golden Eagles around him and didn’t really have his feet set, but he jarred it like he has so many times in Xavier colors. It was a completely ordinary bucket in that we’ve all gotten used to seeing him taking and making very difficult shots. It was special because it gave him 2,000 points on his career. Tre showed up on day one ready to do whatever X needed from him; he deserves all the accolades he continues to acquire.