Pregame Primer: Xavier Musketeers

February 21, 2018

The Georgetown men’s basketball team (15-10, 5-9 Big East) will look to continue its winning ways against No. 4 Xavier (24-4, 12-3 Big East) Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. The Hoyas have won their last two games, first a thrilling 83-80 win over Seton Hall (18-9, 7-7 Big East) on February 10, followed by an 87-83 road victory over Butler (18-10, 8-7 Big East). The Musketeers look to bounce back from a 95-79 home loss to No. 3 Villanova (24-3, 11-3 Big East) and stay in the race for first place in the Big East.

Against Butler, Georgetown led nearly wire-to-wire and played with a sense of urgency. Junior forward Marcus Derrickson continued his recent strong play, finishing with 27 points on 11-13 shooting from the field, while junior center Jessie Govan contributed a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Graduate student guard Trey Dickerson was also a bright spot, scoring 18 points off the bench on 7-8 shooting.

Despite the Hoyas’ strong performance for most of the game, however, Georgetown found itself in a familiar position with under two minutes remaining: holding a sizable lead with the chance of losing it. After Butler cut the lead to 84-81 thanks to a steal on an inbounds, the Hoyas would hit their free throws and hold the Bulldogs without a field goal, prompting some praise from head coach Patrick Ewing.

“We’ve lost six or seven games when we’ve had the lead,” Ewing said. “If my team hasn’t learned from that yet, then we aren’t going to learn anything. I thought we showed some resiliency and were able to make plays at the end both offensively and defensively.”

Xavier poses a steeper challenge than Georgetown’s last two opponents, as the Musketeers boast the No. 6 overall adjusted offensive efficiency, per The Musketeers are led by senior guard Trevon Bluiett, who averages 19.8 points per game while shooting 45 percent from the three-point line. While the offense centers around Bluiett, Xavier is a balanced offensive team, with seven players averaging between seven and 13 points per contest.

In the first matchup with the Hoyas on February 3, Blueitt scorched the nets with 31 points on 6-10 from three, keeping the Musketeers in a game they trailed with under a minute to go. After the Hoyas took an 86-82 lead with two free throws by freshman forward Jamorko Pickett, Bluiett hit a three while being fouled. He would hit the free throw, and the Musketeers would prevail 96-91 in overtime, adding another heartbreaking loss to the Hoyas’ season.

In addition to Govan, Derrickson, and Pickett, freshman guard Jahvon Blair also provided significant production for the Hoyas in the first matchup, as the Washington, D.C., native scored 19 points off the bench to anchor the second unit. The Hoyas will look for him to regain that form once more against the Musketeers, as Blair has scored just 16 points in the team’s last three games combined.

Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on FS1. Follow @GUVoiceSports for game day updates and breaking news.

Santul Nerkar
Santul is the Voice's former executive culture editor and Halftime Sports editor. Follow him on Twitter @SantulN to become one of his rare few followers.

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