The Xavier (13-3, 3-1) vs. Villanova (16-1, 4-1) game Tuesday was the first Top 15 Big East game of the year. The Musketeers haven’t fared well in Philly over the years, going 0-3 in their first three games there since joining the Big East and not losing by less than 13. Villanova was coming off their first loss of the season, an upset at the hands of Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Xavier was looking for their second straight win over the Wildcats, after that classic at the Cintas Center last February.
Sometimes you’re the bug, and sometimes you’re the windshield. Last night, JP went on a personal 5-0 to begin the game which had the students at the watch-party in Gallagher Student Center energized. Then Macura picked up two quick fouls and had to spend some time on the bench, but the offense held steady.
All things considered, only trailing by six at halftime wasn’t really all that bad. Xavier was weathering the Villanova run, but they were having a hard time penetrating the Wildcats’ defense.
Then, everything devolved after halftime. Villanova out-scored Xavier 45-26 in the second half. The 1-3-1 yielded two dunks, and Xavier had trouble mustering much of anything en route to a 79-54 loss.
As someone on Twitter pointed out, two-thirds of our losses this year have been to the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in the country on the road. The common denominator in those losses though, is that when things went downhill, everyone started chucking up threes. Xavier was beating Baylor 51-50 with about ten minutes remaining before the Bears ripped off an enormous run and left the Musketeers in the dust as Xavier went stone cold from the field. Then last night, after starting 5-10 from the perimeter, the squad went 1-22. Not optimal.
In 13 minutes off the bench, Myles Davis was held scoreless, going 0-4 from three and 0-5 overall from the field. This is about what was expected out of him minutes wise, if not even a few minutes more.
All in all, this was a tough setback but there are still five more games against Nova/Butler/Creighton to be played, and two of them are happening in the next five (!!!) days. Taking at least one, if not both of these, will pay dividends come March.