Cincinnati, OH – After a close first half, Xavier went on a 16-to-7 run to start the second half to take a 10-point lead and controlled the rest of the game in beating Missouri 78-66. Xavier struggled offensively in the first half with eight turnovers and forcing their shots, as Missouri capitalized and stayed close. In the second half Xavier used some good ball movement and hit their shots while Missouri struggled to get good shots. Xavier used a balanced attack with five players scoring double figures, led by Trevon Bluiett’s 19 points. Missouri was led by Cullen VanLeer with 13 points.
After having a solid opener vs, Miami (OH), Bluiett went to work on Missouri. Xavier was up only by only one entering the second half, but Bluiett then hit a pair of 3s, two free throws and a layup during the early second half spurt that built Xavier’s lead to double digits for the first time. “I wanted to come out with a lot of energy,” Bluiett said. “I just going early and my teammates knew it and they wanted me to fire up the ball.” He showed some range by making three from long distance with good form.
But, the real key for Xavier win was the play of James Farr and J.P. Macura. Both bench players help lift a spark for a team that needed it after some sloppy offense featuring bad shots and turnovers.
Farr replaced Jalen Reynolds after he got into foul trouble. Reynolds, arguably Xavier’s best player was double teamed. It was clear early on that Missouri wanted to take him out of the game and they succeeded on that. The only reason why Reynolds didn’t play more is because Farr really stepped up.
Farr had a big first half with six big rebounds with four of those being on the offensive end. He would continue with that tough play by grabbing three more offensive boards in the second half and finishing the game with 14 rebounds. His tough play kept possessions alive and also helped energize his teammates. “A night like this doesn’t get me hyped up,” Farr said. “I expect this out of myself. Tonight was my night.” He also made the Missouri players force shots and finished the game with 15 points. All of his points came from the paint, off the pick and roll and on free throws.
Macura played with a lot of energy the whole game, whether it was attacking the rim, going for loose balls, and showed real hustle throughout the game. He went to the line seven times and made all of his shots, attacked the basket really well and even hit a three. He did the early scoring for his team by scoring nine of his 16 points in the first half. He’s had a good start to the season for after scoring 17 in the opener. He can really help Xavier out if he keeps up his high level of play.
For Missouri the one player who stood out was VanLeer. He showed some serious shooting range and with the ability to hit timely shots in the second half as he helped keep the Tigers in the game.
This article was written by George Kallis, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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