Bluiett comes through clutch again for Xavier
CINCINNATI (AP) — Another clutch performance by Trevon Bluiett got Xavier through its first game without its sensational point guard.
Bluiett made a pull-up jumper in the lane with 4.4 seconds left and scored 24 points overall despite an ankle injury, leading Xavier to a 72-70 victory over Seton Hall on Wednesday night.
Xavier (16-6, 6-3 Big East) lost Sumner — its second-leading scorer and quickest defender — to a torn left ACL in the closing minutes of a win at St. John’s on Sunday. The Musketeers had to make significant adjustments to their offense and defense, but pulled it out.
“I don’t know if we see it as a win without Edmond,” said forward Sean O’Mara , who had 11 points. “We see it as a win for Edmond at this point. It’s not like he’s coming back on the floor this season. Hopefully we can finish up the season in a way that will make him proud.”
The Musketeers got a scare when Bluiett — their leading scorer — landed hard after making a jumper in the lane with 14:33 left in the opening half, grabbed his right foot and limped off the court. He got his right foot and ankle taped and returned, favoring his foot the rest of the way.
In his last three games, Bluiett has scored 40, 21 and 24 points.
“It’s pretty impressive to see what he’s doing,” O’Mara said. “When teams orient toward him the way they do and he’s still putting up numbers like he’s doing, it’s incredible to watch.”
Khadeen Carrington missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, leaving Seton Hall (18-3, 3-6) with its fifth loss in six games. Four of the losses have come on the road. Myles Powell tied his career high with 26 points.
“We gave ourselves a chance again on the road,” coach Kevin Willard said. “We had opportunities but it just didn’t go our way — yet.”
Kaiser Gates had a pair of 3s and two free throws during a 16-3 run that put Xavier up 59-52, and the Musketeers never trailed again.
Seton Hall: Angel Delgado had 13 points and 13 rebounds for his 16th double-double, but had his streak of two consecutive 20-rebound games broken.
Xavier: The Musketeers got their first taste of what it’ll be like without Sumner for the rest of the season. They played a lot more zone defense and were out of sync on offense at times. After one Seton Hall basket, nobody got the ball to throw it in. Also, they had nobody quick enough to guard Powell when he scored 18 in the first half.
Freshman point guard Quentin Goodin played a career-high 35 minutes and had seven assists and three turnovers, going 2 of 11 from the field.
“Playing that much time in a game is different for me,” Goodin said. “I think you can tell by how many layups I missed. I’ve got to get used to it and I’ll be fine.”
The Musketeers wore throwback uniforms honoring their 1986-87 NCAA Tournament team.
The Pirates missed their first seven shots to open the game and their first four in the second half. They shot 43 percent overall.
Powell and Xavier’s RaShid Gaston got technical fouls with 32.1 seconds left after some pushing after a foul.
Seton Hall: The Pirates play at Georgetown on Saturday before returning home against Providence on Feb. 8.
Xavier: The Musketeers play at Creighton on Saturday. They lost to Creighton 72-67 at the Cintas Center on Jan. 16, their only home loss this season.
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