Bluiett scores 25 points, No. 13 Xavier beats Colorado 96-69
CINCINNATI — Given rematches against three teams that beat them last season, Xavier ran the table.
Trevon Bluiett scored 25 points, J.P. Macura emerged from his slump by making his first six shots, and No. 13 Xavier completed a streak of non-conference payback wins by drubbing Colorado 96-69 on Saturday.
The Musketeers (9-1) already had victories over Baylor and crosstown rival Cincinnati , which beat them last season, and they set a goal of completing the trilogy. Last season, they blew a nine-point lead in the second half and lost 68-66 at Colorado.
“We circled those on our calendar,” Bluiett said. “Those were our get-back games.”
The Buffaloes (7-2) were never in it. Their inexperienced team fell behind by 26 in the first half and got no closer than 13 the rest of the way. Namon Wright led Colorado with 20 points.
“They whipped us in every phase of the game,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “I can’t think of one thing we did better than Xavier today.”
Colorado knew all about Bluiett, who had 27 points — including six 3s — during the loss to the Buffaloes last season. He went 8 of 14 from the field in the rematch.
Macura was only 3 of 13 in the last two games. He made his first six shots, including a 3-pointer for a 42-16 lead, and scored all of his 17 points in the first half. He missed his only shot in the second half, when Xavier led by as many as 29 points.
“As far as scoring goes, he’s been quiet,” Bluiett said. “But he’s still been a threat. Tonight was a good start for him to get that feeling back and get back into the rhythm of things. Hopefully from here on out, he can score at that level.”
Colorado: The Buffaloes came in leading Pac-12 schools in defense, allowing 66.4 points per game. The Buffaloes hadn’t given up more than 38 in an opening half. Xavier shredded the Buffaloes’ defense for a 49-33 halftime lead, with their guards repeatedly driving for layups or getting uncontested 3-point shots. Colorado hadn’t allowed more than 81 points this season.
Xavier: The Musketeers came into the game second nationally in field goal shooting at 54 percent and made 12 of their first 14 shots while surging to a 31-10 lead. They finished at 60 percent from the field, including 9 of 14 from beyond the arc, and scored 48 points in the paint.
“If we’re going to give up 48 points in the paint, we’re not going to win many games,” said Colorado’s George King, who had 15 points of 5-of-15 shooting.
TOUGH AT HOME
Xavier has won 37 straight non-conference home games, the last loss coming against Wofford 56-55 on Dec. 22, 2012. The Musketeers are 235-35 all-time at the Cintas Center, including 7-0 this season.
FROZEN IN TIME
The scoreboard froze with 10:22 left and Xavier up 71-56. Teams went by the clock above the baskets, and the public address announcer updated the score after each basket. The scoreboard started working again with 7:49 to go and Xavier up 77-58.
“Thank God the scoreboard broke down so I didn’t have to watch it happen,” Boyle said.
The Buffaloes had 23 turnovers in their 75-57 win over New Mexico and turned it over 16 times on Saturday, including 10 times while falling behind in the first half.
Xavier freshman point guard Paul Scruggs fell hard on a play under the basket in the second half and left the court, holding his right side. He returned several minutes later and went back into the game.
Colorado plays home games next week against San Diego and South Dakota State.
Xavier has a week off for exams before hosting East Tennessee State next Saturday, the fifth of six straight home games.