The drama just keeps on coming in the Xavier Sweet 16* and the 1 vs. 18 was entertaining right to the end! 2016 tried for all their might to lay an egg but were still too much for the plucky underdogs.
2016 hopped out to a quick 6-2 lead behind Remy Abell (6/0/2) and Myles Davis (10/9/4) but they were quickly answered with an and-1 from Justin Martin (12/6/2). The first half remained tight the entire way with 2016 leading by 6 with 2 minutes left in the half. A quick bucket from Brad Redford (8/1/4) and another from Isaiah Philmore (12/9/0) made the score 41-40 going into the break.
After an offensive first half, the second saw both teams stumble out of the gates. Things started promisingly with JP Macura (7/3/1) and Justin Martin trading buckets. The next 4 minutes saw just one field goal and Semaj Christon (4/4/2) go to the bench with more foul trouble.
The scoring drought was ended by an Ed Sumner (16/4/4) three-pointer to make the game to make the game 56-52 in the favor of 2016. Larry Austin Jr. (4/0/2) pushed the lead to six, but Travis Taylor (18/10/2) went on a personal 6-0 run to tie things back up. Taylor stayed hot and guided his team to a 69-63 lead with 5 minutes left.
Right after the Taylor bucket, Remy Abell converted an and-1 before forcing a Redford miss at the other end. Jalen Reynolds (9/6/3) cut the game to one on the ensuing possession before, yet again, Travis Taylor scored a big bucket to put his team back up three.
Down three, and with things looking bleak, Myles Davis stepped up and hit an elbow jumper to cut the lead back to one with only 2 minutes left. The 2016 Muskies ran a double at Travis Taylor and pulled down the board on the following miss. Racing up the floor was Myles Davis who buried a three to give his team the lead for good. The Muskies came up with another big stop and Ed Sumner split his free throws with just 7 seconds remaining. Philmore cleared the rebound, but couldn’t find an open option and had to settle for a deep 3 that rimmed out.
The 2016 squad hardly played their best game and Travis Taylor was in excellent form down the stretch, but ultimately, the better team came out on top. 2016 is awaiting the winner of the 2015 vs. 2002 game. Will they struggle to regroup from a poor performance, or will they finally hit their stride and coast away? Hit up the Twitter poll and cast your vote!