Basketball tips off Big East action

Women’s team begins with a 1-3 conference record; men’s team starts 3-1

Newswire photo by Sydney Sanders | Graduate transfer forward Kerem Kanter had a career day against Providence, recording a double-double with 24 points and 12 boards.

Both the Xavier men’s and women’s basketball teams have begun Big East Conference play in the recent weeks. For either team this means there will be no “easy” or “roll over” games for the Musketeers for the remainder of the season.

The women’s team stumbled its way through the first four games, tallying a 1-3 record, with two of those three losses being closely contested.

Last Sunday, Xavier played its Big East home opener against the St. John’s Red Storm. The Musketeers fell in a hard fought fourth-quarter battle, 67-63. Senior Jada Byrd led the scoring with 13 points on 10 attempts from the field while also dishing out four assists.

Sophomore guard Ashley Gomez recorded a career-high 10 points against the Red Storm on 3-7 shooting. Redshirt junior forward Imani Partlow added nine points on 3-4 shooting while also grabbing three rebounds off the glass. This helped Xavier have a 20-15 rebounding advantage over St. John’s.

Partlow stated her presence in the low post against the Red Storm on Sunday and can be a force in the paint if she continues this productive play.

Even though it has been a slow start for Xavier in conference play, there has been promise shown from both the front and back courts.

The season is still early, and this young squad has time to build as the season progresses.

The women’s team will take the floor again todayagainst Seton Hall. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Cintas Center.

On the men’s side of the ball, the Musketeers are sitting at a 15-2 record with a 3-1 tally in conference play. On Saturday Jan. 6, Xavier traveled to Rhode Island to take on Providence at Dunkin Donuts Center. Providence gave Xavier a run for its money as Kyron Cartwright and the Friars were too much for the Musketeers to handle.

Turnovers plagued the Musketeers who totaled 15 giveaways that prevented them from taking the lead and getting a win on the road. Senior guard Trevon Bluiett scored 12 points (all in the first half).

Senior guard J.P. Marcura played a lot of the second half in foul trouble, forcing Xavier to rely a lot on role players to create offensive chances. Xavier ultimately fell by nine points, 81-72, to Providence.

The positive outlook on a loss is that Xavier played its worst basketball with many unforced errors while Providence played maybe its best game of its season.

The Musketeers hung in all game and gave themselves a chance to steal a win late in the game.

Graduate transfer forward Kerem Kanter has continued to be a major role player in Xavier’s rotation.

On the offensive side of the ball, Kanter has been a matchup nightmare and has provided instant offense down low.

Kanter recorded a double-double against Providence, scoring a career-high 24 points and 12 rebounds. Of those points, 19 of them came in just the second half.

In the thick of conference play, Xavier nation will find out what type of team this roster is. The Musketeers will travel to Philadelphia to take on No. 1 Villanova at Wells Fargo Center, followed by a home game against Creighton at Cintas Center on Saturday.

In the remainder of conference play, fans will figure out how tough this group is.

It is time for seniors Macura, Bluiett, Sean O’Mara and Kanter to leave their final mark on the basketball program.

By: Tim Kramer ~Staff Writer~