X Wins Opening Round of Phil Knight Legacy Against Florida
By Andy Mac Williams, 11/24/2022

Xavier (4-1) kept the offense percolating and finished both halves w/ a flourish outgunning Florida(3-2)(SEC) 90-83 in Round 1 of the Phil Knight Legacy at Portland, Oregon. Muskies advance to play #8 Duke(5-1) in Friday afternoon's Semis (3:30 EST-ESPN). The Dukies were stressed BIG TIME by Oregon State(219 in KenPom) winning 54-51. The Beavers missed two "3s" to tie in the final seconds. Duke struggled shooting the ball(36% from "2"-17% from "3"). They won it at the FT line and on the glass (22 offensive rebounds).

XU had no problems shooting stressed BIG TIME by Oregon State(219 in KenPom) winning 54-51. The Beavers missed two "3s" to tie in the final seconds. Duke struggled shooting the ball(36% from "2"-17% from "3"). They won it at the FT line and on the glass(22 offensive rebounds). XU had no problems shooting the rock vs UF(56% FG-10 made "3s") w/ all 5 starters hitting double figures.

Both PG Souley Boum and SF Colby Jones scored 22 points. Colby was ultra efficient(8-12 FG- 4 of 5 "3s"). It was a breakthrough night for him from deep. He added 5 rebounds-4 asists and 2 steals playing on an ouchy ankle. Boum kept X above water w/ 14 1st half points-made BIG Fts late and chipped in 5 boards and 6 ssists.

Muskies are coachable. Sean Miller called several key time-outs and XU responded to his messages. Down 38-34 w/ 1:52 left 1st half-Miller TO-X went on an 8-0 run the the half and a 42-38 lead. X down 4 5:30 into 2nd half. Miller talks! X leads 70-62 6 minutes later. Florida cuts it to 82-79 w/ 3:07 left. Media time-out. Muskies run patient offense-control the glass and D-up aggressively coasting home a 90-83 winner.

XU played much better 2nd half defense-halting Gator straight line drives-closing out on Fla. 3 point shooters and making 6-11 Colin Castleton earn every point. He scored 11 and came in averaging 25PPG.

Muskies flipped the rebounding numbers outboarding UF by a whopping 8 after halftime. Both Jack and Zach helped on Castleton. They were a combined plus 26 w/ 30 points and 20 boards.

Adam Kunkel toyed w/ foul trouble all night, but survived to make several HUGE 2nd half plays(11 points-5 assists). The XU bench was better(5 points-5 boards) in just 30 total minutes played. More will be needed from the subs vs Duke Friday. It's a quick turn around-less than 24 hours between games.

Duke is loaded w/ high end talent under 1st year coach Jon Scheyer (long time Coach K top assistant). Their lone loss was 69-64 to Top 10 Kansas in Indianapolis 2 weeks ago. Duke has a stellar class of 5 star Frosh, but in juries have slowed 7 footer Dereck Lively and 6-7 Dariq Whitehead.

Scheyer changed his rotation vs Oregon State Friday-using veteran PGs Jeremy Roach and Jaylen Blakes together along w/ Frosh BIG Kyle Filipowski (7-0,230) and two BIG TEN 5th year transfers-6-10 Ryan Young(Northwestern) and 6-6 Jacob Grandison (Illinois). Filipowski's been GREAT so far (18PPG-12 Rebounds).

Duke is beatable! Oregon State almost did it. X has to get more from its bench and just trash it out on the glass or Duke will play volleyball inside until they score. Xavier IMHO is due vs Duke after two close NCAA losses to Blue Devils in 1987(2nd Round in Indie) and 2004(Elite 8 in Atlanta). Toss in a blow-out loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium and XU is 0-3 vs Duke in the Modern Era.

Plus Duke dodged X 2008 NCAA losing to West Virginia and again in 2012 losing to C.J. McCallum and Lehigh. That's how my mind works. Pay back upset time before Duke's whole compliment of FAB FROSH get dialed in.

Coach Miller really needs a full 40 minutes from everybody down to walk-ons and student managers. Time to spoil Nike's dream title game match-up Duke vs Gonzaga!!




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