Xavier came into this game with a chance to move up in the rankings thanks to St. John’s knocking off Duke and Oklahoma State beating Kansas. Rutgers took Purdue to the wire, too, as top ten teams were having trouble all day.
Xavier came out flat and, as would be the case all game, Georgetown was getting whatever they wanted in the post. Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson were doing work on the block early, and Xavier’s defense didn’t have an immediate answer. The officials were definitely letting the play in the paint turn into a fight (they were bad both ways), and Georgetown was taking advantage.
Despite Xavier being 6th in the polls and favored by 15 in the KenPom, this one played out how you might have expected Georgetown/Xavier to when the Hoyas were at their peak. Neither team ever had a three-possession lead, as every run was answered before it got going. A corner three from Trevon gave Xavier a two-point lead heading into the half.
X turned the ball over in their first second-half possession, leading to a Georgetown bucket to tie the game. Kaiser Gates scored all four of his points on the game in the span of three possessions, but Jamorko Pickett paced him to keep the game tied. A curiously quiet JP Macura made two free throws. So did Marcus Derrickson.
The teams kept trading blows - Paul Scruggs for three here, Jahvon Blair banking home an answer there - as the clock continued to spin down. When Trevon Bluiett hit a three with three minutes on the clock to put Xavier up a pair, the Muskies had Cintas rocking and looked to be just a stop from getting a foot in front for a decisive time.
Instead X allowed an 8-2 run that had them looking at a four-point deficit with 36 seconds left on the clock. Coach Mack parked Trevon on the left block and sent Q dribbling off of Tyrique through the right channel. Xavier’s center pivoted, and suddenly Tre was bursting free on the right win. Q hit him, Tre’s release was blindingly quick, and all the Georgetown defense could do was get there in time to run through Bluiett on his way down. One free throw and one stop later and it was bonus basketball at Cintas.
Overtime wasn’t exactly a clinic. Marcus Derrickson’s three with 54 seconds left on the clock to cut Xavier’s lead to 1 was the only made field goal of the period for either team. X went 10-10 from the line in OT to make the lead stick, and the Muskies escaped a scare.
The defense needs some work
Xavier couldn’t force a normally profligate Georgetown team into turnovers, and the Musketeers’ defensive efforts suffered for it. Georgetown was getting whatever it wanted in the middle through Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson. The Hoyas were getting Xavier’s guards isoed on the post, and X had trouble adjusting. The offense can only do so much if the defense isn’t getting any stops.
Here's some evidence. At home: 46% from 3, 53% from 2, 90% from the line. On the road: 30% from 3, 43% from 2, 74% from the line. https://t.co/WGMrbVTxxJ— Classy Retire FiftyTu (@RetireFiftyTu) February 4, 2018
Bluiett loves playing at the Cintas Center, and it showed again tonight. He came out hot and hit jumpers from everywhere in the first half. He slowed down a bit in the second, but he picked up his stride again down the stretch. He played 43 of 45 minutes, racked up an ORtg of 145, and iced the game at the line.
Coach Mack is worth his weight in gold
First, with Xavier down a pair, he got Kaiser a wide-open look on the wing that just didn’t fall. The next time down, he drew this up:
With the Hoyas having basically a full shot clock to get whatever shot they wanted, Coach Mack cranked up the ball pressure like Jurgen Klopp. With Xavier hounding the ball out to half court and trapping when it came closer, all the Hoyas could get was a fadeaway three that caught nothing but floor.
So fortunate to have coach Mack.— Chris Torgerson (@c_torgerson) February 4, 2018