Game Recap: NC State 74, Xavier 59

Gregory Shamus

Musketeers come out flat and drop in the First Round.

It's on Tuesday, you're in Dayton, and your family and friends have to figure out where the hell TruTV is. Everybody told the Xavier Musketeers that they were in the NCAA Tournament, but it sure didn't feel that way.

Falling behind by ten midway through the first half, Xavier fought to keep the game close for a while but eventually NC State turned things into a rout. Just like that, the Musketeers are headed home after a 74-59 loss. Led by ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren, the Wolfpack shot 55% from the floor. Warren finished with 25 points, five rebounds, two assists, and three steals and Ralston Turner added 17 points on a handful of threes.

Matt Stainbrook returned to full playing time for Xavier, logging 27 minutes--his most in more than a month. He played well, scoring 19 and adding a game-high nine rebounds. Team leader Semaj Christon scored 14, but the Muskies were dragged down by a poor shooting performance by Justin Martin. Normally accurate from long range this season, Martin went 0-6 from beyond the arc. Xavier's bench failed to make a basket from the field in limited minutes.

With only Isaiah Philmore graduating, the Musketeers look forward to building on their first Big East season. Wins against Creighton, Tennessee, and Cinncinnati highlighted a season that saw Xavier consistently near the top of the second tier of Big East teams. With most of their starters (presumably) returning and a top 25 class on the way, Xavier might be on more fans' radars at this point next season.

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