What a difference 24 hours makes.
Thursday afternoon, Xavier looked discombobulated and out of sorts offensively against Missouri for most of the game, aside from JP Macura’s 19 points on 6-14 shooting.
Friday afternoon in Xavier’s (###) win over Clemson, Macura was a big story, but not the only story for the Musketeers.
The junior paced the Musketeers with a career-high 28 points, with 23 coming in the first half on 10-18 shooting. Trevon Bluiett bounced back from a rough outing on Thursday with 21 points, and Edmond Sumner did a little bit of everything, with 11 points, six rebounds, and six assists.
For Clemson, leading returning scorer Jaron Blossomgame was rendered relatively ineffective. Blossomgame had 13 points on 5-13 shooting, and never seemed to get comfortable on offense. Gabe DeVoe led the Tigers with 16 points.
Unlike the back-and-forth/Xavier trailing most of the time nature of the game against Missouri, the Musketeers led or were tied for all but 48 seconds on Friday. The Tigers went on a run midway through the second half, getting as close as three points, but Xavier was able to right the ship in time and pull away.
Friday was also interesting in that Xavier’s three bigs: Sean O’Mara, RaShid Gaston, and Tyrique Jones all got in foul trouble pretty much right away. As a result, those three combined for just about 15 minutes each. This won’t be as big of an issue when Xavier gets Kaiser Gates, and, to a lesser extent for this specific example, Myles Davis back. For now, though, these three are playing with fire every time they get in foul trouble.
One concern for Xavier that carried over from Thursday? Turnovers. After recording 15 against MIssouri, the Musketeers had 18 against Clemson. This is where having Davis back as soon as possible is something Xavier desperately needs, because he’s a pure point guard.
The Musketeers will be off Saturday and return to the court Sunday in the Tire Pros Invitational final against the winner of Friday night’s Northern Iowa/Oklahoma game.