The Xavier Musketeers played took on the 49ers from Long Beach State at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio on Tuesday night. LBSU came out shooting almost lights out in the first half, putting up a field goal percentage north of 80 percent. However, that immaculate shooting percentage coupled with Jalen Reynolds' early foul trouble were the only factors keeping this contest close.
The second half was much less of a contest, with Xavier going on runs that extended their lead to nearly 30 points at various times. It was clear that Xavier had a deeper and larger/more physical team than the 49ers and they simply could not keep up or match up very well. The Musketeers would power their way to a 97-74 victory over the Niners in what was a dominating performance.
Although the crowned winner was Xavier in this contest, one consistent theme for the 49ers in both match ups was excellent guard play; this time by both Mike Caffey and Tyler Lamb. Caffey put up 20 points while Lamb put up 17. Unlike the first match up between these two, Xavier's scoring was too much for LBSU to keep up with, with 5 Musketeers scoring in double figures and James Farr nearly entering that club with 8 points.
Freshman Trevon Bluiett was the star of the game for Xavier, putting up a line of 20/8/5 on 7-12 shooting. Trevon will definitely give Isaiah Whitehead a run for his money for Big East Rookie of the Year if he continues to perform at such a high level. J.P. Macura, also a freshman, put up 17 points in what seemed to be a breakout performance for him. Those two were the leading scorers, which is encouraging for a Xavier team that is both young and deep. Matt Stainbrook, preseason All-Big East First Team member, played well without as much flash as his teammates putting up a line of 11/7/2. Myles Davis also did not disappoint with a 15-point effort on 5-9 shooting.
Coach Mack, in his post game comments, had a defensive mindset and seemed to be pretty concerned. He did, however, give praise to both Brandon Randolph and Remy Abell who are both, without much doubt, the best defenders on the team. Mack seems convinced that Abell could be a lock-down defender in the Big East this year and he, along with Randolph, will be much needed to keep balance on this Xavier team that is excelling at putting the ball in the hoop.
Xavier's next opponent are the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin, and they will come to Cintas this Friday November 21 for an 8 p.m. clash against the 2-0 Musketeers. Stephen F. Austin recently had a very long regular-season win streak broken, which had been active since 2012, so they will more than likely be playing with a vengeance.