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Xavier vs. Rider final score: Musketeers struggle, but defeat Broncs

A win’s a win, but Rider is certainly no Morehead State.

Rider v Xavier Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Life isn’t so easy all the time, and the Xavier Musketeers realized that Monday night.

A mere three days after their effortless 101-49 victory over the Morehead State Eagles, the Musketeers were tested in a big way at Cintas Center. The Rider Broncs of the MAAC had no fear in Cincinnati, playing them toughly while the Musketeers had their own self-inflicted wounds. Despite that, Xavier salvaged the night and walked away with an 101-75 victory.

As usual, X was led by senior Trevon Bluiett. The All-Big East First Teamer scored a game-high 26 points while shooting 8-14 from the field. It was his second 20+ point effort of the season after dropping 25 in the opener. Tyrique Jones, Kaiser Gates, J.P. Macura and Paul Scruggs joined him in double figures with 19, 12, 14 and 13 points respectively.

What We Learned

Xavier had a regression, but still was victorious

The Musketeers obviously weren’t going to shoot the lights out again as they did in their season opener. Things were not so easy for them on Monday night. They shot 60.9 percent from the field as a team in the first half, but coughed the ball up eight times. They allowed Rider to hang around a little bit, but would eventually pull away in the second half.

They shot a cool 50.0 percent from the field on 34 attempts. They got to the line 18 times, and made 16 free throws. And hey, they still got around to 101 points again. All told, wins are wins, and even though they hit a rough patch at times, they still made it happen.

Rider’s star had a bit of an off night

Stevie Jordan, who was named to the MAAC’s All-Freshman Team a year ago, led the team with 14 points. But he did so while shooting a meager 4-12 from the field. When you’re Rider, and you’re going up against a team of Xavier’s caliber, you’ll need your best effort from your best player. Unfortunately for Jordan, that night wasn’t tonight.

We can now look ahead to Wisconsin

It will be a tough effort to take down the Wisconsin Badgers at Kohl Center. But this Musketeers team looks ready to take on the challenge. Revenge is on the minds for some after what happened in the 2016 Round of 32. Wisconsin’s best have departed since then, but make no mistake: This will be a doozy.