All season if you’ve been reading posts on here, I’ve been talking about how there’s still plenty of time left and how this team hasn’t fully developed yet. Everywhere you turn, someone is second-guessing a tactical decision, complaining about a blown call, or questioning the tenacity of some of the guys. After four losses (all on the road), some concerns may be valid. To say that everything is fine when 58 points are surrendered in the second half would be both naive and a lie. But to say this is a lost team with little potential would also be far from accurate.
Yesterday, Xavier (13-4) took a six point lead into halftime at Hinkle Fieldhouse against a stout Butler team after holding Butler to a season-low 25 points in the first half. Then it was a completely different scenario in the second half, when the X-men allowed Butler to score a season high 58 points. There were 56 fouls called combined, totaling 77 free throws. The Bulldogs went 10-10 from the stripe in the final 19 seconds of the game; a clutch closeout against a Musketeer team that was scratching and clawing their way back into it after being down nine with about seven minutes to go.
Xavier’s only true road win to this point is against a Georgetown team ranked 58th. Yes, opportunities for big wins are dwindling, but not rapidly. There are still five games left against top-20 KenPom teams, and nine against teams in the top-51; four of those are on the road. Two big road games to highlight still left are the Shootout next week (as if that wasn’t highlighted already), and the game in Omaha against the Bluejays.
Trevon Bluiett is in the midst of a horrid shooting slump, averaging only 9 points per game over the last four while shooting 19%. Myles Davis has only two points in his two games since his return, two free throws at the end of yesterday’s game. Edmond Sumner didn’t score for the entire first half before scoring 22 in the second half, including 12 points coming off free throws.
The first opportunity to improve and slap a signature win on the resume is tomorrow afternoon, at home, against what could very well be a top 10 Creighton team when the rankings are released shortly before tip-off. Cintas Center should be ELECTRIC; students are off for MLK Day and it’s a federal holiday as well. Come ready to propel the team into the rest of the season.