Last week started rough but ended well for Xavier Basketball. Starting with a loss but ending with a win in back to back top 25 matchups. Here are some noteworthy takeaways from an interesting week.
Checking the polls
Xavier Basketball dropped down one spot in the AP Top 25 compared to last week. The Xavier Musketeers are currently ranked no.11 in the poll. Xavier’s win over previously no.25 Creighton Basketball likely helped. Had they lost that game perhaps Xavier would’ve dropped further. Other top 25 teams losing last week didn’t hurt the Musketeers much in the polls.
A rough start but good ending for Bluiett and Macura
Last week didn’t start well on the court for two of Xavier’s most prominent players. JP Macura and Trevon Bluiett had lackluster performances against Villanova Basketball. Macura scored 5 points and Bluiett scored 11. Both scoring under their season averages last Wednesday. Xavier struggled in two of their last three games as a result.
Both improved when Xavier faced Creighton on Saturday. Bluiett scored 24 points in Xavier’s 92-70 win. Macura scored twice as many points as he did last Wednesday. With Macura scoring ten points against the Creighton Blue Jays. Macura was Xavier’s leading offensive rebounder on Saturday with four.
Calling in reinforcements
Kerem Kanter stepped up for the Musketeers last week. He was Xavier’s top scoring player last Wednesday night. After coming off the bench and performing well; Kanter was in the starting lineup on Saturday. Scoring 12 points against Creighton with eight rebounds. Leaving Kanter tied with Sean O’Mara for the most rebounds in the game.
Naji Marshall joined Kanter as a starting Musketeer on Saturday. After starting the Villanova game on the bench. The Freshman Marshall had 13 points against Villanova and ten against Creighton. The good week earned Marshall a conference accolade. Marshall was named last week’s Big East’s Freshman player of the week.
Getting back on track at home
Xavier got back to winning ways at home last Saturday. After the Musketeers were dealt back to back losses on the road. With Xavier getting a blowout win over Creighton. The Musketeers never trailed past the 16 minute mark of the first half. After trailing throughout most of their last two games before Saturday.
Xavier gave up 11 turnovers compared to Creighton’s 20 turnovers. Another area where Xavier did well is rebounds. They also outpaced Creighton in three-point shooting and field goals. These improvements helped Xavier shake of a stumble. After two of their worst performances of the season going into the Creighton game.
Next on the schedule
Xavier’s next game is tonight against St.John’s Basketball in Cincinnati. The St.John’s Red Storm are hoping to end a six game losing streak. The Red Storm are win-less in Big East play so far this season. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 8:30 PM Eastern time.