Xavier opened the 2015-16 season by playing a relatively tight game against an inferior opponent at Cintas Center.
Xavier opened the 2016-17 season by playing a relatively tight game against an inferior opponent at Cintas Center.
The Musketeers pulled off an 84-81 victory over the Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Friday night, but it wasn’t particularly pretty. Lehigh led for a portion of the second half and had a chance to tie it with 17 seconds left, but Xavier prevailed.
Trevon Bluiett led the Musketeers with 25 points and 11 rebounds.
Bluiett’s fellow Big East Player of the Year candidate Edmond Sumner finished with 24 points and six assists
For Lehigh, Tim Kempton (more on him later) was the dominant force on offense with 25 points.
Edmond Sumner and Trevon Bluiett are great
This one was pretty obvious going into the night/season, but it was certainly reiterated. Sumner and Bluiett combined for 49 of Xavier’s 84 points. Sumner threw down some filthy dunks, and also led the team in assists. Bluiett led the Musketeers in rebounding. It’s hard to imagine too many teams in the country with the ability to shut both of these guys down at the same time.
The defense and bigs are a work in progress
We knew this one would be true, as well. With Jalen Reynolds and James Farr departing, Xavier suddenly had a lack of depth down low. Sean O’Mara started off well offensively, but had some issues on defense, as did all of Xavier’s bigs. As mentioned above, Tim Kempton had 25 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds. The bright spot for the Musketeers is that Kempton is one of the best bigs they’ll face in the nonconference portion of the schedule, so there’s room for growth and improvement.
In his preview for this game, Clay Sauertieg warned everyone about Kempton.
A win is a win
Despite the general feeling of yuckiness about this game, Xavier has now won 27 straight season openers, including 17 straight at Cintas Center. Additionally, the Musketeers have won their last 23 nonconference games at Cintas Center.
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