Muskies Scuttle St Johns at MSG!! Lose Sumner for Season!!
By Andy Mac Williams, 1/30/2017

Sophomore Guard Edmond Sumner was playing so well when his left knee buckled with 5:51 left Sunday evening at Madison Square Garden and with Xavier pulling away from St Johns leading 68-56.XU adjusted on the fly to his absence and won a key Big East road game 82-77 in NYC. The Muskies improve to 15-6 overall-5-3 in the Big East-4th in the Conference behind Villanova,Butler and Creighton. Xavier holds on at #25 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll.They're a more robust 15th in the NCAA RPI.

IMHO Ed had been mugged repeatedly on drives to the bucket Thursday night in The Shootout. That plus foul trouble had limited him to 25 minutes and just 6 points on 1-7 FGs against the Bearcats,but Sumner still wracked up 7 assists and just 2 turnovers.His complete all court game just flowed against St Johns(29 minutes-17 points-7 for 10 FGs-7 assists and 4 rebounds).

The Muskies' best line-up featured Ed off the ball with Frosh Quentin Gooden at PG. Those two defended well also-limiting the dribble drives of SJU's waterbug guards Ponds and Lovett and crowding their three point attempts.

Sumner has a torn ACL(left knee) which will require surgery. He will need surgical repair work for a torn labrum in his left shoulder also. He'd been playing with the shoulder injury since the Villanova game. Sumner sustained a concussion as a result of a scary fall at Villanova on New Years Eve 2015. He returned to the floor in two weeks. His absence this time will be several months,but he's in good hands with Dr Burger and his Beacon Orthopedic team plus Xavier's support and the backing of friends and family.

I almost wrote this right after the Villanova game earlier this month,but I decided to let it go. A young studio analyst on Fox opined about Edmond during halftime that night after he'd taken a heavy fall and was helped off the court favoring that left shoulder. He said Sumner was playing "scared" at the Pavilion in light of what had happened the season before. I thought it was a patently absurd comment at the time. #4 went on to play in pain. He continued to attack the basket and play heavy minutes and absorb contact. Lack of stones is not an Edmond Sumner problem.

He'll regroup and refocus and rehab and come back stronger and better than ever with plenty of help from a deep support system. Creighton guard Mo Watson's college career is over in the wake of his knee injury.That's a tragedy!! Edmond has two years of eligibility remaining to recover and prosper. That's an opportunity!!!

XAVIER DISPLAYS MOXIE IN NYC!!

The Muskies never trailed in their rematch with St Johns. They regrouped quickly after the UC loss and steadily built a solid lead over the Red Storm. The packline defense stymied Frosh guards Lovett and Ponds.

XU owned the rebounding numbers. The Muskies moved the ball efficiently. Sumner dissected the SJU defense for post ups and feeds for open jumpers.Xavier's halftime lead was 32-25. Again,sketchy FT shooting cost XU including two missed front ends of one and ones.

Trevon Bluiett followed up his 40 point effort against Cincinnati with a well rounded 21 point-10 rebound line vs St Johns. It's a 20 point XU win without the Sumner injury. The Johnnies went on an 8-0 run after Edmond went down. Xavier stabilized though.

Quentin Gooden had played a strong 15 minutes at UC(7 points-6 assists). He was even better at MSG(25 minutes-career high 16 points-2 assists) with 8 clutch points coming when SJU cut the XU lead to 4. "Q" weathered the St Johns desperation press and was trigger man on the in-bounds plays and made great driving decisions and kept up his physical sticky defense.

With Sumner out,it's next man up for the Muskies. Gooden becomes the prime ballhandler. J.P. Macura will probably supply some PG relief. J.P and Trevon Bluiett did a nice job along with Gooden of cracking the St Johns pressure defense.

AROUND THE BIG EAST:

Trevon Bluiett is the BE Player of the Week(40 points-UC,21 points St Johns). Tre was ultra efficient(19-27 FGs)(12-17 on three pointers). He's third in Big East scoring at 18.2PPG.

Villanova recoiled from a 13 point deficit to clip Top 10 Virginia(ACC) 61-59 at Wells Fargo center in Philadelphia.RS Frosh Dante Devincenzo won it with a tip at the buzzer. VU avoided back to back losses which last happened to them 4 years ago. The Wildcats made only 4 first half FGs against UVA's vaunted packline defense. Nova won the game at the FT line(plus 17 points there).

Three Big East teams remain in the AP Top 25(Viilanova #4,Butler#16,Creighton#22). Four are rated by the Coaches(Villanova#4,Butler#15,Creighton#22,Xavier #25). The NCAA RPI is much more Big East friendly(Villanova#2,Butler#5,Creighton#14,Xavier#15,Seton Hall #41.

Xavier plays the Seton Hall Pirates Wednesday night at Cintas (9PM-Fox Sports 1). It's Byron Larkin Bobble Head Night. We'll post a SHU Scouting Report Tuesday.




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