Trevon Bluiett led the way with 29 points on 8-14 shooting, while Kaiser Gates (14), Tyrique Jones (13), Sean O’Mara (11), and JP Macura (10) all finished the night in double-figures as well.
Dwayne Bacon led the Seminoles with 20 points.
The Musketeers will face the winner of Saturday night’s Arizona/St. Mary’s game in their Sweet 16 clash.
Here are three things we learned from this game.
The Musketeers were led or tied for the final 36 minutes of the game. Florida State led 5-4 with 17:48 left in the first half, before Macura hit a layup with 16:05 to go to give Xavier a 6-5 lead. Following that point, X never trailed again.
It isn’t often that you see such a dominant display from an 11-seed. The Musketeers were aided by their 11-17 (.647) performance from beyond the arc. Kaiser Gates and Trevon Bluiett combined for seven of those 11 threes.
Not enough can be said about the coaching job Mack has done this season. From the adversity faced with Edmond Sumner and Myles Davis to the six-game losing streak, Mack remained calm under pressure. As a result, his team did as well. As mentioned above, this is now the fourth time in Mack’s eight years as Xavier’s head coach that the school has made the Sweet 16. His seeds in those games? 6, 10, 6, 11. It was evident from the early goings that Mack had gameplanned Florida State to perfection, and the Musketeers were unrelenting for the entire 40 minutes.
Dating back to the 2015 AdvoCare Invitational, the Musketeers have now won 8 straight games in Orlando. While the stat is likely nothing more that a fun coincidence, it’s pretty interesting how Xavier has managed to fare so well in neutral site games.