Derrick White scored 23 points and Xavier Johnson chipped in with 18 points and seven boards as Colorado knocked off No. 13 Xavier, 68-66, in Boulder on Wednesday night.
The Musketeers got 25 points from Trevon Bluiett, but the rest of the roster struggled to score as Xavier once against had issues shooting the ball from the perimeter.
It’s been the Achilles’ heel for this team all season long. On Wednesday night, the Musketeers shot 38.3 percent from the floor and 7-for-26 (26.9%) from three. On the season, Xavier is 272nd nationally in three-point shooting at 31.3 percent. They’re ranked in the bottom-half of the country in effective field goal percentage, and that lack of perimeter shooting really limits what they are able to do on the offensive end of the floor.
Edmond Sumner is shooting 22.7 percent from three. J.P. Macura isn’t much better, checking in at 28.8 percent. Those are the two best ball-handlers and playmakers in Xavier’s perimeter attack right now, and with Myles Davis’ return unclear, the Musketeers haven’t exactly made themselves difficult to guard.
In the long run I think they’ll be fine, especially if Davis does eventually return to the country.
But they’ve now lost back-to-back games against the two best teams they’ve faced this season. Yes, both of those games came on the road, but that doesn’t change the facts here.
As of right now, Xavier is a perimeter shooting team, and until they get that fixed, their ceiling this season is limited.
The questions coming into this season surrounding Texas’ backcourt remain not only unanswered by seemingly more pertinent to the Longhorns as they return home to Austin from Brooklyn.
Texas went 0-for-2 in its Big Apple swing with a 68-54 loss to Colorado on Tuesday, just a day after the 22nd-ranked Longhorns fell by 19 to Northwestern in the Legends Classic.
The backcourt figured to be an issue for the Longhorns after Isaiah Taylor, somewhat surprisingly, decided to jump to the NBA early, ultimately going undrafted. Against the Buffaloes, Kerwin Roach led the Longhorns in scoring with 16 points, but needed 6 of 16 shooting from the floor, including 1 of 4 from 3-point range to get there. Eric Davis went 3 of 11 from the field (1 of 6 from deep) while Kendal Yancy was 0 of 3 overall.
If your starting backcourt goes 9 of 30 from the field and 2 of 11 from 3-point range, you’re going to have problems. And that came on the heels of that starting trio going 7 of 20 from the floor in the blowout loss to Northwestern.
There’s little reason to panic for the Longhorns, though, given how early it is and the talent on the roster. Davis and Roach are both just sophomores both being asked to take over bigger roles this season.Ultimately, Texas is going to be leaning on its McDonald’s All-American freshmen, Andrew Jones and Jarrett Allen, to be significant contributors once Big 12 play starts. The Longhorns have some time for their backcourt to adjust to new roles and for the team to develop an identity with so many new players and people with new responsibilities.
As for Colorado, it was an impressive response from a narrow loss the previous night to Notre Dame. Derrick White hit 7 of 10 shots for 16 points while George King was 5 of 9 for 12. The Buffaloes corralled 17 offensive rebounds as well, and are increasingly looking like a potential contender with the three teams – Oregon, Arizona and UCLA – considered to be at the top of the Pac-12, especially with Arizona’s issues.
An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of Scout.com reported that four-star center Jayce Johnson is reclassifying to the Class of 2015 and looking to join a program at semester break.
The 7-foot native of California is down to Cal, Colorado and Utah and Johnson is on an official visit to Utah this weekend after transferring to a charter school this week. As Gershon notes, only Cal has a scholarship to offer Johnson this season, but the family is willing to pay a semester at the other programs if it’s the right fit. Johnson would like to redshirt and train with his future college while playing against more mature players.
But if Johnson is persuaded not to redshirt, he could be an intriguing big man off the bench later in the season for a couple of teams looking to make a postseason appearance. As the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson is a talented prospect and he isn’t afraid to score with either hand. With some time to fill out, Johnson can turn into a talented Pac-12 player down the road.
Another prospect in the Class of 2016 has narrowed down his recruiting focus, with 6-foot-8 power forward Dontay Bassett announcing Friday morning that he’s trimmed his list to five schools. Bassett, a native of Oakland who attends Oldsmar Christian School in Florida, is now considering Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska and Oregon State.
Bassett announced the news by way of his Twitter account, stating that there was no particular order to his list.
Bassett is scheduled to officially visit Oregon State this weekend, with Wayne Tinkle’s program getting the forward’s first visit. The Beavers have a mixture of underclassmen and veterans in their current front court rotation, and that includes three seniors in Jarmal Reid, Olaf Schaftenaar and Daniel Gomis.
Fellow Pac-12 program Colorado also has multiple upperclassmen in its front court rotation, including seniors Xavier Johnson and Josh Scott. But unlike Oregon State, Colorado did not bring in a freshman front court player in its 2015 recruiting class and they’ve yet to land on in the 2016 class.
Arkansas, which is lacking in front court depth this season, suffered a blow when former 2015 signee Ted Kapita wasn’t cleared academically and eventually landed with the Las Vegas Dealers semipro franchise. The Razorbacks have just one scholarship underclassman in their front court in redshirt freshman Trey Thompson. Florida also has a need for front court depth, but they’ve got some young players in USF transfer John Egbunu and freshmen Keith Stone and Kevarrius Hayes.
As for Nebraska, the Huskers have a young front court with sophomore Jacob Hammond being their most experienced option at present time. Head coach Tim Miles also has a trio of freshmen in Jack McVeigh, Ed Morrow and Michael Jacobson competing for minutes in this year’s rotation.
Colorado picked up a commitment in the Class of 2016 on Monday night as three-star shooting guard Bryce Peters pledged to the Buffaloes.
The 6-foot-4 native of California picked Colorado over his other finalists of Wyoming and UNLV. Peters took an official visit to Colorado this weekend and was evidently impressed enough to decide his basketball future. The Buffaloes landing Peters comes right on the heels of the program parting ways with former 2016 guard commit Cameron Satterwhite late last week.
A developed scorer with a good pull-up game, Peters should fit in off-the-ball in head coach Tad Boyle’s offense. An athletic wing, Peters has a good motor and is also solid on the defensive end of the floor. Peters joins three-star Michigan native Deleon Brown in Colorado’s Class of 2016.
While Colorado, Kent State, Penn State and SMU were all guaranteed two home games apiece as part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic ahead of the semifinals December 22 at the Orleans Arena, the matchups for the semifinals had yet to be announced. That announcement came Friday, with SMU set to take on Kent State in the first game and Colorado playing Penn State in the nightcap.
The third place and championship games will be played the following night.
Of the four teams SMU will enter the 2015-16 season with the highest expectations, with head coach Larry Brown returning a good portion of his rotation from a season ago led by point guard Nic Moore and power forward Markus Kennedy. The Mustangs made their first NCAA tournament appearance in more than two decades last season, winning the American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles as well.
Colorado returns four starts from last season’s team, but they’ll only have three available due to the ruptured Achilles tendon suffered by forward Xavier Johnson. Forward/center Josh Scott will lead the way for Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes, with players such as Dominique Collier and Wesley Gordon needing to step forward.
Penn State will have to account for the loss of guard D.J. Newbill from last season’s team, and Kent State returns much of its front court from last season including All-MAC forward Jimmy Hall.