This Xavier team has given fans some cause for concern, but there has been much reassurance that it’s still only December. So, when Eastern Washington exploded out to a 22-11 lead in the first half, worry filled the Twitosphere that Xavier was in trouble of dropping a buy game to the Eagles. Xavier’s shots weren’t falling, and it seemed like Eastern Washington could chuck it up from anywhere and it would find the bottom of the net.
Then all of a sudden, Xavier ripped off an incredible scoring run, reminiscent of last season’s tendency to go on timely scoring explosions. They closed the first half of play on a 35-8 run, including a blistering 6-6 from beyond the arc; a far cry from their 1-8 to begin the half. Kaiser Gates had three of those six threes, and finished with a career-high 12 points on 4-7 shooting from deep.
It was more of the same coming out of the break, as it was all Xavier all the way after the first ten minutes of the opening half. Most notably, Edmond Sumner ended with 14 points, a career-high tying nine assists, and ZERO turnovers. That’s big for the X-men; when your point guard is scoring and taking care of the ball that well, you know you’re in business.
Trevon Bluiett was his usual self, scoring 16 with three threes. JP Macura and Malcolm Bernard rounded out the four Musketeers in double-figures, scoring 12 and 10 respectively.
Xavier did not let the weak first quarter of the game get to their heads. They played very well on the defensive end, especially Quentin Goodin, who played 18 minutes. Fellow freshman Tyrique Jones had nine points and two massive blocks, and Jones has emerged as a mainstay in the low post.
Xavier improved to 10-2 and Eastern Washington fell to 8-4.
This was Xavier’s final non-conference home game, and the Musketeers ended it in style. We’re on to the grind of the Big East schedule, save for one particular non-conference away game towards the end of January.