Seeking a victory on their two-game road swing, Marquette marched into Cincinnati looking to score an upset over the No. 6 ranked Xavier Musketeers. Despite a spirited effort their upset bid was denied on Saturday afternoon. Xavier, off the back of big performances by Trevon Bluiett, Edmond Sumner and J.P. Macura netted a victory to the tune of 90-82.
Macura and Sumner both finished with 20 points each as the pair of guards dominated the game from start to finish. Macura's late 3-pointers helped build up a lead on the Golden Eagles, while Sumner flashed and amazed with dunk after dunk and deft passes as well. Bluiett, meanwhile, scored 23, dished out eight assists and grabbed four boards while shooting 50 percent on 14 field goals.
Four players finished in double figures for Marquette despite the loss. Henry Ellenson finished with a game-high 22 points while Haanif Cheatham joined his fellow freshman in the 20-point threshold, finishing with 21 on a 7-for-9 mark from the field and 5-for-5 from the free throw line. Duane Wilson meanwhile scored 16 points and center Luke Fischer chipped in 10 of his own with eight boards to go along.
Here's what we learned from this matchup:
1. Xavier's home dominance continues
To this point in the season, Xavier has lost just one home game at Cintas Center: A flub against Georgetown back in January. Aside from that, the Musketeers have held firm to their home court all year proving why it's one of the toughest places to play in the BIG EAST Conference. Xavier has three home contests left this season against Providence, Creighton and of course, Villanova. If X can hold serve the rest of the way, it would be nothing short of an impressive feat to have just one loss in their home venue all year.
2. Marquette's March dreams are dwindling
This was a mighty big week for Marquette and despite hard fought efforts on Saturday, they let a big opportunity slip through their fingers. Xavier would outclass them towards the end but Marquette's fight was quite noticeable, leading at times and competing hard against the sixth-ranked team in the country. They now stand at 4-7 in conference play and would need an insane run to keep hope alive. Stranger things have happened but it seems as though Marquette's growing pains have plagued them quite a bit.
3. Trevon Bluiett is pretty, pretty, pretty good
This isn't so much something that we learned. More like reaffirmed. The Indianapolis native stood out again amongst a pack of three different 20-point scorers on Saturday afternoon. He managed to shoot 50 percent on 14 attempts and made a living at the 3-point line, shooting 5-for-6 from the perimeter as his growth from the 3-point line this year has been stark. Remember: Bluiett only shot 32.6 percent last year from the 3-point line and 29.6 percent during conference play. This season? 40.7 percent and 36.4 percent respectively. He's one of many reasons why Xavier has so much hype and why they may make a deep run in March.