A win is a win, no matter how ugly.
For a while (like... all of regulation and a chunk of overtime), it seemed like Missouri might finally get the better of Xavier after the Musketeers disposed of the Tigers the past two seasons. Trevon Bluiett was in foul trouble for most of the day (he had four, and finished the game shooting 5-16 from the field in just 23 minutes of action), Edmond Sumner’s shot wasn’t falling (19 points on 19 shots, and not a very good day from the free throw line until the very last second, literally.), X was sloppy with fouls (24) and turnovers (15), it looked like an upset was imminent.
Until it wasn’t.
Led by JP Macura’s 19 points, five rebounds, and five assists, RaShid Gaston’s double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds), and Sean O’Mara’s career-high 13 points, the Xavier Musketeers pulled out an opening round victory over the Missouri Tigers, 83-82, in the Tire Pros Invitational in overtime.
For the Tigers, three players scored 20+ points. Frankie Hughes had a game high 24, Kevin Puryear had 22, and Terrence Phillips had 21. With 10 seconds to go and the ball, Phillips had his three-point attempt blocked by Malcolm Bernard. Then, Phillips fouled Sumner with 0.3 seconds to play. Sumner hit one of the two free throws, and the game was over.
There were a lot of things that didn’t go right for Xavier, as outlined above. There were a lot of things Missouri did well. At the end of the day, though, Xavier did what they needed to do to win.
The Musketeers will be back in action tomorrow against a Clemson team that showed a lot of skill in its 95-78 win over Davidson earlier Thursday.
The best course of action for Xavier heading into Friday is to be happy they survived Missouri, burn the tape, and come back ready to play Clemson.
(Box Score via StatMonitr)