Xavier blended its familiar staples with a fresh flair that sparked a 76-65 win over Maryland in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Orlando.
Xavier’s fickle defensive philosophy surprised the Terrapins, who struggled against the Musketeers’ untested 2-3 zone as well as their revived 1-3-1. The extended minutes, mixed with extended post ups, for Sean O’Mara gave Xavier another scorer that put them over the top.
There were of course, some familiar constants in Xavier’s play. Macura pumping up his teammates in between scoop layups and deep threes. Trevon Bluiett off-balance threes that turn Xavier’s dry spurts into runs, and more.
Bluiett’s three consecutive contested threes in the middle of the second half highlighted a 14-0 run where the Musketeers pulled ahead. Xavier’s leading scorer only made one basket in the first half, but he erupted for 18 points in the second half. He shot 6-7 from the field after intermission.
O’Mara and Goodin also played significant roles in Xavier’s victory. O’Mara, who was perfect from the field in the first half, had a career-high 18 points and seven rebounds.
Kevin Huerter led Maryland on the offensive end, scoring 19 points on the night, but Maryland’s star point guard Melo Trimble played below his usual level. He scored 13 points, but on 15 shots, and committed three turnovers. His 1-9 mark from beyond the arc was kryptonite for the Terrapins.
Xavier advances to play the winner of Florida State and FGCU in Saturday’s Second Round.