Remember those first couple nonconference games when Xavier looked a bit out of sorts and gave other teams a chance? That was cute.
The Musketeers took the court against the North Dakota State Bison on Tuesday night and... looked like the #7 team in the country, defeating the Bison by an 85-55 margin.
Just like the first half against Northern Iowa on Saturday afternoon, the Musketeers were punishing on the defensive side of the ball, holding the Bison scoreless for the first four minutes of the game, and leading 30-11 at one point late in the first half. This is what Xavier does during the nonconference portion of their schedule: They work teams into submission in the first 10 minutes of the game and spend the final 30 picking them apart.
In Tuesday’s win over North Dakota State, the Musketeers led the game in the following categories: Points (85-55), FG% (.484-.444), 3PT% (.455-.133), offensive rebounds (15-8), defensive rebounds (28-19), points off turnovers (22-7), and second chance points (17-2). It was a simply dominant display.
Trevon Bluiett led all scorers with 23 points, while Malcolm Bernard, Sean O’Mara, and JP Macura all registered double-digits as well. O’Mara had 12, Macura had 11, and Bernard had 10. Edmond Sumner had only five points, but seven assists and zero turnovers. It was as close to a perfect game as you can get in basketball for Xavier.
Also important for the Musketeers? Kaiser Gates played 14 minutes in his second game back from injury, an uptick from his 11 minutes in Saturday’s win over UNI. The Musketeers head to Waco this weekend to face the #9 Baylor Bears, who are one of the tallest teams in the country. Xavier will need all hands on deck to compete with Baylor’s size, and having Gates comfortable will go a long way for them.