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No. 13 Xavier reveals combat, highway toughness in win over UConn

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Sean Miller checked out his staff inside a silent Gampel Pavilion at 10:30 on Wednesday morning. He was able to ship a message.

“We have performed effectively, however the signal of an incredible staff is what you are able to do away from dwelling,” Miller stated on the conclusion of his staff’s shootaround. “Now could be your probability to do it. We did not come right here to play UConn. We got here right here to combat like hell for a victory.”

That is precisely what the No. 13 Musketeers did, using a 9-0 run to open the sport and holding off a livid comeback by the No. 19 Huskies in a raucous environment, prevailing 82-79. It marked a becoming ending to Xavier’s 9-1 first half in Large East play, as a result of the Musketeers answered the one huge query surrounding this staff: Might they do it on the highway?

“I actually felt that was our greatest total efficiency of the season,” Miller stated following the win. “Defensively, I believed the primary half was nearly as good as we performed all season.”

The Musketeers, who entered at 96th in KenPom adjusted defensive effectivity, shut down UConn within the opening minutes by letting Andre Jackson shoot from past the arc, and daring the Huskies to launch from downtown. It labored, as Connecticut shot simply 32% from the sphere within the opening 20 minutes, together with 1-for-13 from 3-point vary.

“That was the mindset of our group on this sport, to set the tone and keep collectively,” Souley Boum stated following the win.

That mindset is the shift that Miller has introduced again to Xavier basketball, one which Boum describes as “by no means having a second the place we’re complacent.”

Highlights: Souley Boum proves his would possibly vs. uconn

Highlights: Souley Boum proves his might vs.  uconn

Xavier’s Souley Boum scored 21 factors in an 82-79 victory over the No. 19 UConn Huskies.

The UTEP switch has embodied that angle and a lot extra for the 16-4 Musketeers. Boum has answered Xavier’s preseason level guard questions in emphatic style, rating top-five of the Large East in each scoring (17 PPG) and assists (5.1 APG). He is been as impactful as any switch in faculty basketball and is a official candidate for Large East Participant of the Yr.

“He is an extremely correct shooter,” Miller added on Boum. “Whether or not it is deep 3s or off-the-dribble 3s, when he is on, he carries us. Actually, I did not suppose Souley had his greatest sport, however that taking pictures with him not enjoying effectively, it is onerous to say 21 factors at UConn is not evening.”

In his newest efficiency because the Musketeers’ stabilizing presence, Boum began 5-for-5 from past the arc and ended up with 21 factors.

“I am the purpose guard of this staff, and I’ve to be that man for this staff,” Boum stated. “I’ve no time to have a letdown, and I used to be speaking to our guys to get them juiced up and prepared. We did that to begin the sport, after which it is about weathering the storm.”

UConn introduced a second-half blizzard, clipping what was a 17-point deficit all the best way down to 1 with 10:59 to go, and once more with 4:52 left earlier than one remaining push with 2:40 on the clock.

Huskies sophomore famous person Jordan Hawkins went off for 26 factors, taking pictures 8-for-12 within the remaining 20 minutes. It was a welcome sight for an offense that was soul-searching on the break. With Tristen Newton matching his season-high with 23 factors to associate with 4 assists, the big-picture optimistic for the Huskies is that Hawkins had some assist, and the backcourt performed as robust of a half because it has in weeks regardless of it being too little, too late.

“Defensively, we had been so comfortable. We have fully misplaced our method, and I’ve bought to get that fastened,” Dan Hurley stated following Connecticut’s sixth loss in eight video games after a 14-0 begin to the season.

“It is uncommon for me to must get away from man protection virtually completely as a result of their guards had been getting wherever they needed on the court docket. Your entire perimeter was that dangerous defensively. If we won’t get our man protection fastened — groups which might be solely enjoying zone are usually not doing effectively.”

The Musketeers shot 53% from the ground, and 50% from past the arc.

For UConn, Wednesday marked one other evening of disappointment, because the Huskies discover themselves at 5-6 within the Large East and out of the common season title race. UConn continues to be thought of an NCAA Event lock as a projected 5-seed in Mike DeCourcy’s newest bracket forecast, however the Huskies must be a special staff subsequent week. They’ve every week off earlier than a pair of matchups in opposition to Large East basement dwellers DePaul and Georgetown.

As for Xavier, the imaginative and prescient of a regular-season convention crown is actual. This present, which received simply eight Large East video games final season, has taken a 180-degree flip since Miller returned to the sidelines. A win of this caliber on the highway, and with reserves Jerome Hunter and Desmond Claude including high quality depth to the rotation, has this Musketeers staff evolving because the season intensifies.

“That is what tonight actually provides our group, a perception that we are able to win wherever,” Miller stated. “It is one factor to speak about it, it is one other factor to undergo it. While you undergo it and also you’re victorious, you say, ‘alright, we are able to do it.'”

“There’s folks on the market who say, ‘Can they win on the highway?’ and all this and all that,” Boum added. “We’re simply going on the market to maintain getting the credit score that we deserve. We’re constructed for these moments, and we’re simply going to maintain stepping, and maintain working.”

The Musketeers’ highway will get no simpler. Xavier heads to Omaha to go to a Creighton staff that is discovered its footing in convention play and is 8-1 at dwelling this 12 months. That tip-off comes at 12:15 p.m. ET on Saturday.

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