By: Matt Stainbrook ~Guest Writer~
The Xavier men’s basketball team traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this summer in early August to compete in four exhibition games against local Brazilian clubs, take a part in a three-credit hour course and enjoy some sightseeing around the country.
The team finished a perfect 4-0 on the trip, starting with a 99-68 win over Flamengo, in which a strong second half propeled Xavier to an overwhelming win. Notable performances in the game included a double-double from junior James Farr, who scored 12 points and led the team with 14 rebounds. Freshman JP Macura led all XU scorers with 14 points.
The following night the team defeated Macaé, a club three hours outside of Rio de Janeiro, 81-53 with another dominating second half in which the team scored 50 of its 81 points in the game.
Sophomore Jalen Reynolds finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, leading the team in both categories. Remy Abell, Sean O’Mara and Makinde London also finished in double figures.
Before the final two games of the trip, the Xavier players and staff were able to hold a basketball clinic for “at risk” children at the Rochina Olympic Center. The clinic included children from the local slums that surrounded the surrounding area.
The third game matched Xavier against Tijuca, in which the Musketeers came out on top 76-42 with another dominating second half, where a 23-0 run helped stretch the lead.
Xavier held Tijuca to 25.5 percent shooting and received double figure scoring efforts from multiple players. Freshman Trevon Blueitt, sophomores Brandon Randolph and Reynolds and Abell had good performances for Xavier. Reynolds once again stood out and led the team in points and rebounds, recording a total of 16 and 8 respectively.
The last and final game saw a rematch of the first, where Xavier finished on top with a 91-68 win over the same Flamengo team it faced in the first game.
The Musketeers jumped out to a 13-0 lead and never looked back. Freshmen lead the scoring effort in the game with Trevon Blueitt scoring 18 points and Edmond Sumner contributing 16 points for the Musketeers.
On the defensive end, XU held Flamengo to 42.3 percent shooting, including just 36.7 percent in the second half. Sophomore Jalen Reynolds notched another double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds for the game.
While in Brazil, the team also was able to hear from two guest speakers about business in Brazil and cultural competency, which was the main focus of the study abroad course completed during the trip.
Taught by Dr. Tom Hayes, the class began in July on Xavier’s campus and culminated in Brazil.
The team also did some sightseeing, visiting the beautiful Sugar Loaf Mountain, the iconic Christ the Redeemer Statue and the Maracanã stadium, the stage of the 2014 FIFA world cup tournament this summer.