Tuesday night the Xavier Musketeers traveled to Dayton, OH to compete in one of the NCAA’s four play in games for the NCAA Tournament. Xavier was matched up against North Carolina State, the winner moves on to the round of 64 to face the St. Louis Billikens. North Carolina State comes into the Tournament hot off a good ACC tournament run. Xavier entered off a final four exit from the Big East tournament.
North Carolina State’s TJ Warren was too much for Xavier the entire night. The Wolfpack’s star forward had 25 points on the game with 5 rebounds to lead his team to a 74-59 victory. Xavier had no answer for Warren the entire night as they played catch up from the early first half on.
Xavier relied too much on their stars Matt Stainbrook and Semaj Christon Tuesday night. The two combined for 33 points, over half of Xavier’s points. The bench for Xavier provided only 2 points the entire night, compared to NC State’s bench which provided 10 points. Xavier’s 13 turnovers also provided NC State with more scoring opportunities.
NC State came out hot Tuesday, their intensity was unmatched by Xavier who were playing in a defacto home game only 45 minutes from campus. Of the 12,077 in attendance it is safe to assume nearly 10,000 of those fans were Xavier fans, with five minutes left in the second half the arena started to empty out. Xavier had the support, had the crowd energy but came out flat for much of the game. Despite Stainbrook doing everything he could to get the team going it was to no avail.
Now Xavier returns to Norwood to watch the rest of the tournament while NC State continues to ride their hot streak as they head to Orlando to face St. Louis on Thursday.