Trevon Blueitt scored 17 of his 23 points in the first half as Myles Davis added 11 points, 12 boards and 12 assists — his first career triple-double — as No. 8 Xavier knocked off No. 23 Providence, 85-74, in a game that was never really in doubt.
This was the kind of performance we’ve come to expect out of Xavier. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This is one of the deepest, most complete and most balanced teams in college basketball. They’re every bit the part of a Final Four contender.
No, the story of this game was Providence.
Specifically, the effort the Friars gave on the defensive end of the floor.
To date, that’s where this team has excelled. We know all about their limitations offensively at this point. They’re a two-man team. It’s Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil … and everyone else. When ‘everyone else’ shows up to play — when Rodney Bullock is a double-double threat that is hitting jumpers, when Kyron Cartwright and Junior Lomomba are creating off the bounce, when the supporting cast is hitting their threes — the Friars can legitimately beat anyone in the country.
They beat Arizona in a game played in southern California. They beat Villanova at Villanova. Those are really, really good wins.
But that hasn’t been the case of late. By the time Providence next takes the court, it will have been a month since the Friars beat someone not named Georgetown. They’ve lost five of their last seven games and suddenly find themselves inching their way closer and closer to the bubble.
And the concern on Wednesday is that they got worked over this badly on a night where they hit 12 threes. That’s what happens when you give up 52 first half points and allow a team to hit seven threes in twenty minutes. That’s what happens when a defense that ranked among the top 25 in the country decides not to show up until after the intermission.
I still think that Providence is a dangerous team as long as they have Dunn and Bentil, but the best way to describe what this team is at the moment is “unraveling”.