It was another good win for Chris Mack and the Xavier Musketeers as they beat the Auburn Tigers by 24 points on Saturday, 85-61.
Xavier improves their record to 11-0 as they still sit at the top of the BIG EAST and they are looking more and more like tournament contenders each day. Coming in at No. 10 in the AP Poll, the Musketeers took advantage of Auburn having a bit of a rough start to the game.
The Tigers started out shooting the ball poorly, and Xavier jumped out to a solid lead thanks to Jalen Reynolds. Reynolds, who led Xavier in scoring in this game with 18 points, had a huge first half to help X to a 39-30 halftime lead. Although the lead was less than double digits, it seemed that Xavier had a stranglehold of the game from the get go.
The only real concern for Xavier was the play of Auburn guard Kareem Canty. Canty had 25 points to lead all scorers, but looked to have suffered an ankle injury late. It was a relatively easy second half for X as they showed they were the better team by putting a stronghold on the game and ended up blowing out Auburn 85-61.
Here are three things we learned from the game.
1. Xavier dominated on the glass
It was a dominant day for Xavier and the battle of the boards showed just that. Xavier ended up with a 43-28 rebounding advantage at the end of the game, with Musketeers having 15 offensive rebounds on the day. James Farr lead the day for Xavier with 10 rebounds and Auburn was led by the 11 of Cinmeon Bowers. It was a overall good rebounding day for the X. Any time you can get almost double the second chances at the basket than your opponent due to rebounding, you will most likely win the game.
2. Efficient from the field
Xavier shot the ball very well from the field in this game. They shot exactly 50 percent from the field, making 29 out of 58 attempted shots. Reynolds and Farr were the most accurate players on the night as both took good shots and were efficient from the field. The hot shooting by Xavier helped the team to two good halves of offensive basketball as they scored 39 and 46 in the first and second half respectively.
3. The Musketeers aren't done yet.
This was another statement win by the Musketeers and the NCAA has to take notice now. X hasn't lost and now have blown out another team from a power conference in the SEC. They have beaten their in-state rivals, Cincinnati, already and look like favorites to win the BIG EAST heading into conference play. They won't go undefeated, but they will be a lot to handle for the rest of the year and in March.