Game Recap: #8 Xavier Sweeps the Season Series Against #23 PC Friars with a Strong First Half

#8 Xavier Musketeers (23-3) 85 

#23 Providence College Friars (19-8) 74

I figured that I should have a picture of the referees at the beginning because the game is all about them, right?  Or is that just what they want you to think?

How does Jamie Luckie still have a job working college basketball games?  He’s atrocious.  It’s not even the case where one of the fan bases can be furious about him being biased against their team.  He equally horrendous against everyone.  I searched his name to made sure I got the spelling right, and it’s just a list of articles of how bad he is at his job.  The funny thing is, it’s from all different team.  Virginia, North Carolina, St. Louis are all on to how bad he is at his job.  

The intentional foul call on Drew Edwards for unintentionally tripping Macura down the court which then turned into a technical foul on Ed Cooley.  

I would have said even more than what Ed did after that call.  He certainly got his money worth on that one.

The technical foul called on freaking Myles Davis of all people.  That should teach him that you can’t just stand there after a foul is called on your teammate.  What were you thinking Myles?!?  For shame.

As for the actual game (which should always be an afterthought, right Jamie?), Xavier was in control for most of it and eventually were able to finish off their season sweep of Providence with a 85-74 win at their house.  Xavier is just too deep for this Friar team that would need to play at their very best to take them down.  Six players on the Musketeers average 9.4 points per game or better.  That’s some incredible balance and something that can take you deep into March.  Their depth keeps their guys fresh and their 1-3-1 zone is a recipe for disaster for a Providence team that struggles against the zone.

The Friars were able to cut the Xavier lead in the second half to six down the stretch but were never able to dig themselves out of yet another deep hole that they found themselves in after an all-too-familiar slow start.

Game Notes:

  • Myles Davis recorded a triple-double for Xavier with 11 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists.  It was the first triple-double for the Musketeers since Tu Holloway (awesome name) in 2011.
  • I might have to make a separate list for Big East players on my All-Hate Team now that we’ve been playing each Big East team for a second time.  It’s like an NBA playoff series where you get so familiar with the other team that you just start to dislike the little things that some of these guys do.  I’m OK with Myles Davis (he’s annoyingly good at basketball but seems like an alright guy), Trevon Blueitt (probably their best potential pro), and Edmond Sumner (he makes no impression on me).  There are a couple of guys who I want to give a swift kick in the nuts.  J.P. Macura and his flopping bullshit need to make the list.  
  • James Farr just seems like a dick.  That technical was absolutely his that they gave to Davis.  Jalen Reynolds too.  He always gives the extra shove after the whistle blows whenever he can.  It’s not necessarily dirty (see Diamond Stone) but it’s completely dick-ish.
  • Imagine how good James Farr could be if he was in decent shape.
  • Chris Mack is a heck of a coach…respect there.
  • At 23-3, Xavier is one of only 4 teams in the country that only have 3 losses.
    • Villanova is 23-3
    • SMU is 21-3
    • Arkansas Little-Rock is 20-3
  • Xavier is one of the best teams at home in the country.  Period.  There are only 3 other arenas in the country where home teams have a higher winning percentage.
  • As a kudos, Xavier runs some really great out of bounds plays.  They have one or two of them a game that they run for easy buckets.
  • OK, now we can get to some Providence College Friar stuff.
  • After putting up a season-high 49 first half points against Georgetown in their last game, they gave up a season high 52 to Xavier in the first half of this one.  
  • Ben Bentil had maybe the first game of this year where he was kind of in the background for most of it, excluding injury games.  That being said, he still ended up finishing with 17 points and 6 rebounds.  He shot poorly from the floor (5-14) and from the line (5-9) for the first time I can remember in a long time.  You can still tell that he is still favoring his ankle on some trips up and down the floor, so the 8 day break before the Friars next game couldn’t have come at a better time.  Xavier’s big men are a challenge for Bentil as they can hit a 15-footer but are also able to bruise down low.  The fact that there’s a limited front line for the Friars has Bentil giving up a lot of size against these guys.
  • Kris Dunn struggled holding on to the ball, especially in the first half.  Dunn finished with 7 turnovers, tying a season-high that he had against Marquette earlier in the year.
  • Dunn was much more effective in the second half and excelled in securing rebounds out of the zone and getting to the line and converting those opportunities (10-12).
  • Dunn finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, but didn’t record a steal for just the third game this year.  He had one in the first half that I thought was a steal but I guess the scorer’s table didn’t agree with me.  Once he gets that elusive next steal, Dunn will be the only player in Providence College history to record 1,000 points, 500 assists, and 200 steals in a career.  He would be doing so in just 88th career game.
  • I see you Tyree Chambers.  Way to get on the stat sheet (1 steal, 2 fouls, 3 minutes).
  • Bullock had his second really good game in a row.  Rodney finished with 13 points (5-12) including 3 threes (3-7) and took down 8 boards.  He continued his streak of making every single three point shot while trailing a play and stepping into his shot directly in rhythm. 
  • Junior Lomomba had his first real game where I he was hurting the team more than he was helping it.  His mistakes seemed to snow ball one after another.  Junior was just 1 for 7 from the floor and had 3 turnovers.  He seemed a little out of rhythm for most of the game.  I’m just going to chalk it up to an anomaly and not give it a second thought going forward.  He’s still incredibly important to this team.  Even with having a down game, he still had 4 assists and 6 rebounds, so it wasn’t all bad.
  • Drew Edwards continues to look overly hesitant out there.  He was never looking for his own shot or to attack the zone and instead, telegraphed some pretty bad passes. He’s extremely good at using his jump stop to get in the thick of a zone, I’m just not sure why he doesn’t do it more often.  He did have this great take and finish during the game though…
  • It didn’t even touch the rim.  Just straight backboard.  That’s hard to do.
  • Ryan Fazekas was 2-4 from downtown and is now shooting a respectable 36.1% from three on the season.  Fazekas has slipped to 3rd on the team in 3-point percentage. Kyron Cartwright leads the team at 40.0% after shooting just 4-33 (12.1%) from deep last year. It’s really quite an incredible turnaround.  Kris Dunn has improved his outside shooting as the year has went on and is now 2nd on the team at a 36.7% clip from three.
  • Providence now sits at 19-8 on the year and 7-7 in conference.  Their last four regular season games are as follows:
    • at Seton Hall
    • vs. DePaul
    • vs. Creighton
    • at St. John’s
  • The Friars should go at least 3-1 over that stretch, finishing the season at 22-9, and in the top half of the Big East at 10-8 in conference.  That should be enough to get them into the NCAA tournament with a couple more chances for improvement in the Big East tournament.

Next Up, an 8 day layoff before the Friars travel to Seton Hall to face the pesky Pirates on Thursday at 7 PM on FS1.

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