By: Brent Raines ~Sports Editor~
Xavier split a pair of Big East conference games in the past week, winning at Marquette before being upset at home against Georgetown. The 74-66 road victory over the Golden Eagles (12-6, 2-4 Big East) on Jan. 16 was led by senior forward James Farr, who scored 16 points in addition to a careerhigh 19 rebounds. Marquette rushed out to an 18-11 lead, but a 21-0 run by the Musketeers gave them the lead for good. Marquette never came within seven points of the Musketeers for the remainder of the game.
Sophomore guard Trevon Bluiett led the Musketeers with 18 points, while Marquette’s freshman forward Henry Ellenson led all players with 20 points and added 7 rebounds. The Georgetown Hoyas (12- 7, 5-2 BE) surprised everyone Tuesday night by storming into Cintas Center and coming away with a 81-72 win over the No. 5 Musketeers. The Hoyas started the game strong and weathered several Xavier runs to take a 39-33 lead into the locker room. They would never relinquish that lead, although Xavier did cut it down to two at one point in the second half.
After taking a scary fall at Villanova on New Years’ Eve, redshirt freshman guard Sumner returned to the line-up for the first time against Marquette to post 15 points and a team-high five assists. Sumner had sat out the previous three games due to a concussion. For his performance in the Marquette game, Sumner was named Big East Freshman of the Week.
Player of the Week:
As the Big East named Bluiett as its conference Player of the Week on Monday, there is little reason to name another as the Newswire Player of the Week suince no one really played all that well against Georgetown, so we will punt on that game and focus on Bluiett.
Farr Bounces Back:
After an uninspired four point, five rebound performance against DePaul last week, Xavier head coach Chris Mack had some tough words for Farr.
“He has to play harder. As you know, I’ve been the first one to beat the drum about James Farr being one of the best bigs, most improved players in our conference. He took tonight off and he hasn’t played well over the last couple of practices,” Mack said. “It’s disappointing, and when he changes his attitude back to what it was, he will play exactly how he’s been playing.”
Farr responded big time against Marquette. In addition to the career-high 19 rebounds, his 16 point tally was the second highest of his career trailing only his 18 point performance earlier this season against Western Kentucky on Dec 5.
The Musketeers will face two of the three Big East teams that they have yet to play in the coming week. They will host Seton Hall (13-4, 3-2 BE) at 2 p.m. on Saturday before heading to Rhode Island to square off against Kris Dunn and the Providence Friars (15-3, 3-2 BE) at 9 p.m. on Jan. 26.
Seton Hall is off to a solid season after being picked just seventh in the Big East preseason rankings. The Pirates have three players in Isaiah Whitehead, Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez who are averaging double-figures, while Angel Delgado averages more than nine points and nine rebounds.
With an RPI of 41 and wins over Wichita State and Providence, Seton Hall will be looking for a big win to bolster its bubblicious tournament profile. The game will be broadcast locally on Fox Sports Ohio.
While Player of the Year candidate Kris Dunn deservedly gets most of the attention, most improved player candidate Ben Bentil actually leads the team averaging 19.1 ppg and 8.0 rpg. The Friars have already picked up wins against Arizona, Illinois, Butler and Rhode Island. The game will be broadcast nationally on FS1.