Wake Forest heads to Cincinnati this Saturday to take on 17th ranked Xavier in the Skip Prosser Classic. I know for most Wake fans, this game will come as a welcome distraction from all the stuff that has been going on lately. The Musketeers are 8-2 on the season and have yet to lose at home. This would be a huge win for Wake Forest, but it is not going to come easy. Here are some guys to keep your eye on during the game.
Trevon Bluiett | Jr. Guard | #5
Bluiett is Xavier’s biggest threat on the offensive side of the ball. He leads the team in scoring this season with 19.1 points per game. He is also the second leading rebounder on the team at 5.6 rebounds per game. His biggest weapon is his long range shooting ability. He leads Xavier this season with 25 3-pointers made and is shooting 35% from deep. He gets up an impressive 7.2 3-pointers per game.
Bluiett has a great step back that he likes to use to create space off the dribble and free him up to shoot from beyond the arc. Combine that with his height and quick release, and it is very difficult to contest his shot.
About half of Bluiett’s shots this season have come from inside the 3-point line. When defenders start playing him to shoot from deep, he cuts back door or drives around them and uses his athleticism to finish at the rim. To go along with that he averages 5.1 free throw attempts per game and is shooting 82% from the line.
In last years win over Wake Forest, Bluiett scored 17 points and shot 3-7 from the 3-point line. Keeping Bluiett from getting good looks from deep could be key to the Deacs bringing home a W in this one.
Edmond Sumner | Soph. Guard | #4
Sumner is also a 6-6 guard, but is a much different player than Bluiett. He is second on the team in scoring with 14.3 points per game on 45% shooting, and he leads the team in assists with 4.3 per game. With just 20% of his shots coming from beyond the arc, Sumner is definitely more of a driver than a long range shooter. As a 6-6 point guard, he typically has a height advantage over his defender, and Xavier takes full advantage of this by lobbing the ball up to him at the rim if the opportunity presents itself.
Sumner’s biggest threat on offense is his ability to drive the basketball and finish at the rim. He is very athletic and can make some impressively acrobatic shots inside the paint. With that, he is getting to free throw line almost 6 times per game. A major benefit of Sumner’s ability to drive the ball is that it collapses the defense and allows him to kick out to shooters, like Bluiett, for open 3-pointers.
Sumner will likely look to push the ball off turnovers and missed shots, so the Deacs will want to find him and get in front of him before he can get to the rim and finish with a highlight dunk (Unlike below where everyone completely ignores him).
In last years win over Wake Forest, Sumner led Xavier with 21 points on 46% shooting and got to the free throw line 10 times. Whoever ends up defending Sumner will want to play off and play him for the drive, as he has only made 5 3-pointers this year and is shooting a marginal 23% from beyond the arc.