The Xavier Musketeers opened the Las Vegas Invitational by winning handily against George Washington, but the 83-64 final score wasn’t necessarily indicative of how the game went. At times, the Musketeers played haphazardly, but one thing Xavier did do was produce in the paint, scoring 65 percent of their points in the paint alone.
Turnovers seemed problematic throughout the whole game, and Xavier gave the ball away a grand total of 13 times.
Despite the fact that Xavier was persistent in attacking the rim, George Washington collected six blocks in the first half, while the Musketeers shot 55 percent from the floor.
The struggles shooting the ball from long range continued into the second half, but luckily, the Colonials couldn’t make anything from outside the key and Xavier held them to shoot only 40 percent from the field for the game.
The Musketeers got a strong performance from Quentin Goodin, who did what he does best; Drive to the rim hard and finish strong. He had 16 points and grabbed four rebounds while dishing out four assists.
Trevon Bluiett posted another 20 point scoring game and for the most part, he seemed to be the only Musketeer to shoot well from behind the arc in this matchup. Bluiett, also known to be a good rebounder as a guard, scooped up seven boards.
Bluiett: 20 points, seven rebounds
Goodin: 16 points, four assists
Sean O’Mara: 10 points
Tyrique Jones: 11 rebounds
Terry Nolan Jr.: 18 points
Yuta Wantanabe: 16 points
Patience is a virtue
The Musketeers are now 5-0, but the turnovers have been an issue of late. Tonight, Xavier had 13 which won’t fly against better opponents. On some possessions, I got the sense that the team was playing way too quick. They need to take their time and drive to get their shooters open in space.
Second half magic
The second half magic has been a trend in Musketeers basketball this season and as frustrating as that may be, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Bluiett himself is noted to be a second-half player, so in a way, it sort of makes sense that the team also follows. If the Musketeers are going to continue playing this way, it is imperative to secure a grip on the lead as early as they can in the first half.
Rebounding is a strong point
Chris Mack values the basketball and always emphasizes the importance of rebounding. It has definitely shown on the court, as the Musketeers have dominated opponents in the rebounding column this year. Tonight, they out-rebounded George Washington with 38 rebounds to GW’s 26. The good news too is that its not just the bigs rebounding. The guards are also getting in on the action and that’s a huge plus for the Musketeers who have the size and skill to run the floor.
Xavier is headed to the championship game tomorrow to face the winner of Kansas State and Arizona State, which will surely be a more competitive matchup than it had against the Colonials. At the end of the day, while the Musketeers didn’t have a perfect showing, they posted another victory in the win column.