A caveat before this gets ugly: The officials tonight were awful for both teams. I, obviously, tend to notice the miscarriages of justice against Xavier more, but there were some blindingly bad calls against the Hoyas as well.
Imagine, if you will, you are at your job. Let’s say you’re a school bus driver, just for grins. At the first stop, you let half the kids on and leave the rest. You skip the second stop. On the third stop, you run a handful of them over. The fourth stop you get perfectly right. On the fifth stop you hit a parked car. You then repeat this sequence for your entire 45 minute route. One has to assume that would cost you your job.
Clarence Armstrong, Tim Clougherty, and Lamar Simpson did essentially that tonight, but they’ll be back to work again on Monday evening, because there are no standards for college basketball officials. Those three called a foul per minute tonight and probably got about half of them correct. For reasons no one can adequately explain, there is no oversight for college basketball officials. Three guys can spend an entire game doing the kind of things that would make most people quit their job in shame and sign back in the next day with no fear that anyone at all will call them on it.
Tonight, that meant that Marcus Derrickson could, on multiple occasions, literally two arm push his way into the post, drop his shoulder through the chest of his defender, and head for the rim. The sheer amount of contact Derrickson created gaining post position defied all basketball logic. He was either guilty of approximately 15 offensive fouls before he even touched the ball, or the rules have changed.
Perhaps this would be excusable if the refs had been distracted by Jessie Govan’s game long interpretation of a pulling guard, but they failed to observe that until well into overtime. It was a simply incomprehensible display of complete and utter incompetence, and it nearly cost Xavier a game. (A moment for Jonathan Mulmore, who either thinks his new weightlifting program is really working, or realizes he didn’t actually push the 242 pound Tyrique Jones through the air as if he were a particularly insubstantial piece of paper).
- Earning an ignominious spot alongside the officials is announcer Jordan Cornette, who can’t pronounce O’Mara, thinks freshman become sophomores at some point during conference play, and pronounced Quentin Goodin’s 11/5/2 an “off night.” Great research, big guy.
- St. John’s must be casting a wistful eye in the direction of Patrick Ewing. One conference game after Xavier beat the Red Storm and named Chris Mullin MVP, Ewing adapted to the game as it was played and saw to it that that Govan and Derrickson took 41% of Georgetown’s shots.
- There were some worrisome signs from Xavier. Kaiser Gates was 0-7 from behind the arc and only attempted one shot inside 20 feet. Trevon Bluiett was excellent (seriously, a four point play?), but his success at the Cintas casts into sharp relief his struggles away from it and the fact that Xavier won’t be hosting any NCAA tournament games. Coach Mack was uncharacteristically slow to adjust to the fact that Tyrique Jones was clearly the answer to the hate crimes being committed under the bucket.
- But there were far more things to be excited about. Paul Scruggs was a warrior against Derrickson despite giving up easily 40 pounds. Twice Derrickson threw Scruggs to the floor, with no call, obviously, and twice Paul jumped right back up and reengaged. 5/1/3 isn’t a great line, but Scruggs only turned the ball over once and was fearless on defense. Tyrique Jones was 9-14 from the line and, despite getting turned once, generally sneered and the Georgetown efforts to move him out of the way. The man is 242 pounds of beautifully arrogant meanness.
- Xavier’s depth in numbers was evident tonight. JP only managed seven points, but Trevon poured in 31. Gates only had four, but Q stepped up with 11. When the beating became to much for Sean O’Mara and Kerem Kanter, Tyrique was there. All of Xavier’s nine man rotation played double digit minutes and it could easily be said that eight of them were positive contributors. That kind of depth makes an off night from Gates easy to shrug off rather than crippling.