Cincinnati, OH – Xavier raced out to a fast start as they often do when their playing in front of their home crowed at Cintas Center. Then Wake Forest was able to settle down and get right back into things as they tied the score up at 15 halfway through the first half. The rest of the game took on the same form as both teams were matching each other basket for basket for most of the contest. Whenever Xavier went on a run, Wake Forest would immediately match them with a run of their own; but by the end of the game Xavier would prevail with the 69-65 victory.
Wake Forest got great outside shooting early and often from Bryant Crawford. The sophomore guard did a great job stretching the floor for the Demon Deacons. Crawford shot the ball with confidence as he pulled deep three-point shots on pretty good defense and still knocked them down consistently in the first half. Crawford had 13 first half points hitting three shots from beyond the arc. Crawford has great form on his shot, and has a quick release, so he doesn’t need much space to get a clean shot off. Crawford played well for Wake Forest as he scored 20 points while also handing out six assists.
For the Musketeers point guard Edmond Sumner turned in a strong performance right from the opening tip. Sumner was able to affect the game in a variety of ways, using his speed and quickness to attack the defense. He has a very quick first step which allows him to get the defense on their heels. The sophomore point guard has great size at 6-6 and he utilizes his length and quickness to attack the paint. Sumner does a great job of creating his own shot off of the dribble. The super sophomore showed his dynamic ability throughout the game as he finished with 17 points and four rebounds.
Rashid Gaston was huge all night for Xavier, the 6-9 forward did a great job of getting position down low in the paint and finishing at the rim. Gaston is not overly athletic but he has a great knack for scoring in traffic. The Norfolk State transfer has good foot work and has very soft touch on his shots. Gaston does all of his damage right at the rim, he has shown the ability to create his own shot out of the post. Gaston was big for Xavier in the first half scoring 10 tough points. He finished the game with 14 points and four rebounds
The biggest difference maker of the game for Xavier was Trevon Bluiett, the junior guard made his impact felt the entire game. Bluiett is a very physical and crafty guard that can impact the game in many ways. He is fundamentally sound with great footwork which helps him get shots off without taking many dribbles. He utilizes the jab-step very well to create space. Bluiett has a very good shot, he is an excellent mid-range shooter, but he can also stretch the floor and knock down three-pointers as well. He showed off his range connecting on 3-of-7 from behind the arc. Bluiett also did a great job on the glass for the Musketeers pulling in seven rebounds. Overall Bluiett is a very solid player, and the heart and soul of his team. He led the Musketeers in scoring with 20 points.
With the win Xavier improves to 9-2 on the season, while Wake Forest falls to 8-3. Up next for the Musketeers on the schedule will be another home game against Eastern Washington on Tuesday, while the Demon Deacons will travel back home to face LSU on Thursday.
This article was written by Frank Preston, 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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