Photo courtesy of local12.com | Trevon Bluiett scored a career-high 40 points in the loss to Cincinnati last season and hopes to be victorious in his final Crosstown Shootout.
The men’s basketball team failed to capture its third consecutive holiday tournament title with a bizarre loss against the Arizona State Sun Devils, but it rebounded with a resume-building victory over the No. 16 ranked Baylor Bears with a final score of 76-63.
The tournament began with an 83-64 win over the George Washington Colonials. Xavier led most of the game and controlled the pace with the exception of a five minute span in the second half.
Trevon Bluiett once again led the team in scoring, this time with 20 points. Bluiett stuffed the stat sheet, also coming up with seven rebounds, three assists and a steal in addition to his scoring.
Quentin Goodin was second on the team in scoring, netting a season-high 16 points. Goodin played a well-rounded game, grabbing four rebounds, handing out four assists and nabbing four steals on the defensive end of the floor.
Tyrique Jones led the team in rebounds with 11, and three came on the offensive end. He also scored eight points.
Sean O’Mara also reached double-figures in scoring with 10 points.
Against Arizona State, things didn’t go as well. Although the team started off well, troubles with closing out the first half once again came back to haunt Xavier. Despite leading by 15 with less than four minutes to go, the team only took a two-point lead into halftime.
Things got worse from there as Xavier lost the lead early in the half and never recovered.
As a team, the Muskies allowed Arizona State to shoot more than 60 percent from the floor in the second half.
One positive, however, was JP Macura busting out of his mini-slump. After having scored eight points combined in the two games prior, Macura led the team in scoring with 23 points. He also had five rebounds.
Bluiett had his worst scoring game of the season but still managed to reach double figures, scoring 11.
Kerem Kanter was the only other Musketeer to eclipse 10 points, scoring 12 in addition to grabbing three rebounds.
Naji Marshall played yet another strong game, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds off the bench.
The team rebounded well with a solid 13-point victory over the 16th ranked Baylor Bears on Tuesday.
The players maintained composure throughout, even when Baylor started to chip away at the lead. The defense played against Baylor was markedly different from that which was played against Arizona State.
Macura once again led the way, scoring 19 points in addition to grabbing six rebounds and getting two steals.
Kaiser Gates also had his best game yet, scoring 19 points while also getting five rebounds. Gates’ stingy defense was another major factor in Xavier’s quick defensive turn-around.
Marshall and Bluiett both reached double figures, scoring 10 points apiece. They grabbed four and six rebounds respectfully.
Up next for Xavier is a big one with rival No. 11 ranked Cincinnati coming to Cintas on Saturday for the annual Crosstown Shootout. Hopes are high and momentum is on the upswing for the Musketeers, and a victory Saturday will mean a lot come March.
By: Donnie Menke ~Staff Writer~