By: Adam Tortelli ~Staff Writer~
Following its hot start to the season, the Xavier men’s basketball team travelled to the west coast to compete in the DirecTV Wooden Legacy held at California State Fullerton in Fullerton, Calif.
After opening with a win against University of San Diego, the Musketeers finished the Thanksgiving weekend with pains in their stomach — not from too much turkey, but from letting two winnable games slip away.
Head coach Chris Mack had plenty to be thankful for Thanksgiving night as his team took advantage of its 3-point shooting talent, connecting on 50 percent of its shots from downtown, to cap an 82-71 victory over the Toreros.
Senior center Matt Stainbrook made his presence known the entire game, nearly notching a triple-double with 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Xavier dominated rebounding in the first half, tripling San Diego’s mere seven boards.
Junior forward James Farr led the way with six rebounds in the first half alone.
Freshman standout Trevon Blueitt came out firing in the second half to help push the Musketeer lead to double digits.
Blueitt would finish the game with a team-high 17 points while classmate freshman guard J.P. Macura recorded 11 consecutive points to keep the Muskies’ double-digit advantage.
The team suffered its first loss of the season to the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) Miners on Nov. 28.
Blueitt continued his scoring prowess early in the game to ignite an 8-0 run and put the team in the driver’s seat of what seemed to be another simple Musketeer victory.
The Miners would soon counter with its own run, keeping the game neck-and-neck for much of the first half. The half was ultimately capped with Xavier taking a five point lead into the locker room at halftime.
After going back-and-forth just as they did in the first half, the Miners took a three-point lead into the final minute.
The Musketeers would come as close as two points but were never able to reclaim the lead.
Sophomore guard Myles Davis sparked the Musketeers with 15 points after sitting out the previous day’s victory for what Mack called “a dumb decision off the floor.”
In the final game of the tournament, and for third place honors, Xavier faced Long Beach State University, who lost 97-74 on Nov. 18 at Cintas Center.
However, this matchup would end with a 73-70 Long Beach victory.
Despite battling to the finish behind Stainbrook’s 19 points and 12 rebounds (his first double-double this season), the game came down to a Myles Davis 3-point shot that just missed as Long Beach walked away with the upset.
Xavier men’s basketball returns to action Dec. 6 at Cintas Center against the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and students in attendance will receive a T-shirt courtesy of X-treme Fans.