Tu started off slowly and could never really grow into the game. When Cheek picked up his early foul trouble, Xavier's junior guard was asked to carry the bulk of the load. Playing against larger defenders with officials who were comfortable allowing a lot of contact, Holloway was unable to get it going tonight. He ended the game with 5-2-5 on 1-8/1-5/2-2.
Xavier had a chance to leverage their inside play into an advantage in the game. Jamel McLean was dominant on the boards early, but was having trouble getting the ball to fall on stick backs. Big Kenny roamed inside and out and ended with 12-5-2 on 4-6/0-0/4-4. He showed a decent range and a soft touch with a couple of jumpers in the first half. McLean had 4-9-1 on 1-6/0-0/2-5.
The revelation of the night was the play of Andrew Taylor. The senior transfer from Hillsdale College has been somewhat unlucky in terms of injuries and setbacks in his time at Xavier, but he opened up a can on Marquette tonight. When absolutely nothing was going right for Xavier, he stepped up and shouldered the load for the Muskies. Rather than shy away from the responsibility on the offensive end, he fired up 16-4-0 on 7-8/0-0/2-2 shooting. Good for Andrew.
On the whole, this game was a disappointing end to a season that was full of surprises. In what was booked as a rebuilding season, I'd have taken this result at the beginning of the year. In a year in which Xavier went 15-1 in the conference, losing in the first round of the tournament is a disappointing result. It's always hard to lose; the end of the season is always a disappointment.
|I'm going to need a new favorite Muskie.|