For the second straight season, Xavier and Wake Forest played a close game in the Skip Prosser Classic.
Unlike last season, though, the Musketeers didn’t have to come back from a 20-point deficit. Though Saturday night’s game was ugly at times for the Musketeers, they pulled out a 69-65 win over the Demon Deacons to improve to 9-2.
The Musketeers led for two-thirds of the game, but it didn’t feel like it, as they never led by more than seven points, and never led by more than five in the second half. It was a back and forth contest between two programs who had a lot to play for.
The Musketeers were led, as usual, by Trevon Bluiett’s 20 points and seven rebounds.
Bryant Crawford led the way for the Demon Deacons with 20 points, as well.
Here are three things we learned from this game.
Sumner’s big night
As mentioned above, Bluiett led the team in scoring. However, the Musketeers wouldn’t have been victorious Saturday night without the strong play of Edmond Sumner. Sumner had 17 points, four rebounds, and four assists, and helped give Xavier some breathing room with a big three-point play with eight minutes to go in the second half. Sumner has struggled a touch this season compared to last season, so it’s very nice to see him have performances like this. Chris Mack, undoubtedly, is a fan as well.
Xavier’s rebounding issues persist
Wake Forest forward John Collins came into this game averaging 18 points and 10.7 rebounds per game on the season. The Musketeers keep him under his scoring average (12), but allowed the big man to grab 12 rebounds, four of which were offensive. It will be interesting to see what the Musketeers plan to do against some of the better rebounders in the Big East once conference play rolls around
Shake it off
Xavier, like most Big East teams, played their first game of the week on Saturday due to finals week. It showed for the Musketeers. Despite the win, they were sloppy with the ball and at the free throw line. These sort of things happen. Finals are going on, and practice time gets cut into. Good teams are able to pick up wins regardless, and Xavier did that on Saturday night.