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Xavier wins ugly in New York, 73-68

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It wasn’t pretty, but the Musketeers get to 20 wins thanks to their point guards and Chris Mullin.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Xavier is now 20-3 and one game closer to Nova in the Big East. Trevon Bluiett is the third leading scorer in program history. Those are the highlights from a game that, frankly, couldn’t have impressed any neutral observers.

That was disgusting basketball: If you tuned in tonight hoping to watch Xavier at full cry, you were disappointed. More than that, this was just wretched to watch. Xavier didn’t get it going, St. John’s never gets it going, and the teams combined to look like overgrown junior high kids trying to play a game they watch on television sometimes. The teams shot a combined 16-51 from behind the arc, unwilling to let a lack of success put them off continuing to lift.

Xavier’s point guards came to play: Q went for 13/4/5 and only had two of Xavier’s 6,000 turnovers. A rapidly improving Paul Scruggs had 6/2/1 and no turnovers to go with a steal and two blocks on a night where he looked completely unfazed by St. John’s defense. With Blueitt and Macura on a working vacation, it was the young guns at the head of the offense who steadied things and made sure that the Musketeers inefficient night didn’t end in a loss.

Xavier struggles when Trevon is bad: Top notch analysis, right? Trevon was 4-16 from the floor and 1-9 from behind the arc today. Tre finished with 14/4/3, but it wasn’t pretty to watch. When he isn’t making jumpers, and JP Macura seems confused as to which guys are his teammates, Xavier is going to play games that look like that.

Chris Mullin should be fired: There’s an argument that Mullin recruits well, though Bryan Trimble has the body of Will Ferrell in Blades of Glory, but he’s utterly clueless in game. A team with the talent that St. John’s has should not be 0-11 in conference, but tonight was a stark example of the difference coaching makes. Mullin called a timeout to set up a play that involved one screen after a literal 15 seconds of standing and ended in a shot clock violation, took the ball out of his best player’s hands so his scoreless center could dribble drive from 19 feet, and made nary a defensive adjustment all game long as his seven scholarship players racked up fouls. Tonight was a clinic on bad coaching. GTIII took a lot of grief for his efforts at Georgetown, but Mullin may be one of the worst coaches in the history of the Big East.

A win is a win is a win...: Gross? Yes. Convincing? No. A win? Absolutely. It’s January 30th and Xavier is 20-3. Not all of those are going to be art pieces and tonight wasn’t, but the Musketeers head back to the Queen City leading the Big East and ranked in the top ten in the nation. Trevon isn’t going to keep shooting like that, JP won’t turn the ball over six times very often, and those point guards look excellent. Ugly wins are still wins, and this team is piling them up.