Xavier basketball off to hot start

Photo courtesy of pilotonline.com | Senior Trevon Bluiett led the way for the Musketeers last week in the 101-49 win against Morehead State with 25 points and five rebounds. He added another 26 points and nine rebounds in the 101-75 win against Rider.

It’s difficult to read too much into the potential success of a team from the small sample size of two resounding victories. However, scoring more than 100 points in consecutive games for the second time in 22 years is a significant feat and one that should not be overlooked.

The men’s basketball team started its season Friday night against a Morehead State team that was physically and athletically outmatched in just about every facet of the game.

Xavier sprinted out to a 15-1 start and never looked back. The Musketeers were playing easy and carefree, and it seemed like they could not do anything wrong. They took care of the Eagles by a final score of 101-49 to set the table for the season and get everything started on a high note.

After a short break over the weekend, Xavier took the court for the second tune-up game before a huge tilt against Wisconsin this coming Thursday. The Rider Broncs entered the Cintas Center on Monday night and gave Xavier more of a run for its money than the Eagles did on Friday. At one point right after halftime, Rider had cut the deficit to five. There comes a time, though, when pure talent is enough to put a team over the edge, and that’s exactly what happened throughout the course of the next few minutes of the game. Xavier ripped off a couple of massive runs to stretch out the lead and eventually cruise to a 101-75 win.

Trevon Bluiett picked up right where he left off in March, scoring 25 in the season opener, including going 5-7 from three in only 22 minutes of action. Then on Monday, he poured in another 26 to give himself 51 total points in just 50 minutes of play. J.P. Macura scored 14 points on four shot attempts against Rider as he also went 9-10 from the charity stripe. Tyrique Jones had a career-high 19 points against the Broncs, and freshman Naji Marshall was very impressive in his first two collegiate games, scoring 12 and five points respectively. The Musketeers will be looking to carry that quality of play into their Thursday game in Madison, Wisc. against a Badger team that knocked Xavier out of the NCAA Tournament two seasons ago.

On the women’s side, the Musketeers were also able to get off to a winning start on Saturday night. After a very slow first quarter of play, the offense picked up and the defense held New Hampshire in check. Anniina Aijanen, who had 12 points in the game, hit a three right before the buzzer in regulation to send the game to overtime.

Xavier outscored New Hampshire 9-4 in the extra period to come away with the 71-66 victory. Senior Jada Byrd scored a team-high 13 points for the Musketeers. With several new faces on the roster who are expected to contribute significant minutes, it was a riveting way to come away with a win on opening night.

Xavier came away with a 66-45 victory last night against Mount St. Mary’s. Freshman guard Aaliyah Dunham scored a team-high 16 points, and redshirt junior forward Imani Partlow added 12 points to bring the team’s overall record to 2-0.

By: Paul Fristchner ~Staff Writer~