By: Paul Fritschner ~Staff Writer~
There is usually an underlying theme that runs through Xavier’s big losses, and there is generally an overwhelming frustration that the game was lost through one particular statistic or at one specific point. Last year against Creighton, it was an atrocious shooting performance. Against Villanova, Edmond Sumner was crushed on the court shortly after tip-off.
Saturday, it was Xavier’s first half and Baylor’s second half. Remember the good ol’ times when Xavier was up 21-12 and it looked like Baylor might not be as untouchable as many believed? Then Trevon picked up four fouls, the Musketeers’ offense turned about as cold as the North Pole and Baylor quite literally ran away with the contest, winning 76-61. Xavier had the lead with about 10 minutes to go at 51-50. Then Bluiett was given his fourth foul, and the game spiraled out of control as the Bears exploded for a 21-2 run to seal the deal.
One of the biggest keys to the game was rebounding, and Xavier came to play on the boards. Xavier out-rebounded Baylor 47- 35, and 18 of those 47 were offensive rebounds. The problem was that the Musketeers couldn’t convert those offensive boards into points, as they only scored 13 second-chance points.
This Xavier team really is so far from its finished product that this game is not as worrisome as it might have been in years past. Yes, it exposed some weaknesses, like the lack of offense from players not named Trevon Bluiett and Edmond Sumner (they had 42 of the 61 points). But this game occurred so early in the season that there is plenty of time to adjust, correct the problems and work through what happened.
They have a prime chance to rebound Wednesday night against a stout Colorado team. The Musketeers travel to Boulder, where they will take on a 6-2 Buffalo squad whose signature win at this point in the season is against Texas.
Colorado came up just short in a matchup against Notre Dame and dropped one to in-state rival Colorado State.
Colorado is led by senior guard Derrick White, who has played in more than 75 percent of available minutes this year. It is much better as a team on defense than offense and struggles to shoot the ball.
The game against Colorado and Saturday’s home battle against Utah will be good tests of the mettle of this team.